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Autor:   •  March 11, 2011  •  10,086 Words (41 Pages)  •  1,975 Views

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Old Age Homes

-Why it can be a Lucrative Business Opportunity

Synopsis

Genesis

In the Vedic times, human life of a hundred years was divided into four segments or ashrams. A seven year old was supposed to live in Brahmacharya - ashram / gurukul or a present day distant equivalent of a boarding school till his twenties. The second quarter of his life was to be spent as a householder or a Grhasthya. In the third quarter, he was to retire from routine household activities and set out into the forests, which was called Vanaprastha - ashram. This was the stage where contemporaries lived together, in probably what could be called a rough equivalent of a "retirement retreat". The last quarter of his life was to be spent in his search for God and to be lived in "Sannyas" in complete renunciation.

We don't live a hundred years today, but the rationale of retiring from hectic, routine life and moving into an area where one could finally, lead a healthy, peaceful life, and leisurely enjoy all that one has worked and earned for in his youth, is not a modern-day idea, but one borrowed from our roots in the Vedas.

An Aggressive Stance

Half a century ago, old age homes were looked at with antagonism and resentment. They were perceived to be a refuge for those helpless elderly victims who were "cast away" by brutally, ungrateful children.

Current Understanding

This idea is however changing rapidly. Today, a fair number of people opt to move into a retirement retreat, where parents of affluent children well settled abroad, live in a home which provides vigilant security, prompt state-of-art medical facilities, clubhouses for entertainment, and most of all an environment where people understand each other, connect and relate with their contemporaries and are well taken care of.

Future Trends

Demographic study shows that in the next 20 years, the number of senior citizens will grow vastly, with the average human life expectancy increasing, to further contribute to this sea of senior persons.

Financially, the trend is, the middle class moving towards the upper middle class, and upper middle class moving towards affluence.

The number of young people traveling globally for employment is also increasing multifold, due to globalization.

All of these, point in one direction - Well-heeled senior citizens whose children are physically away from parents. They have the financial resources to lead a good life, but not enough of a family to provide constant support. In this fast paced world, in order to survive, the youth needs to be constantly on its toes, and has an abundance of everything except time.

Besides, for issue-less couples, old age is a nightmare, and they are fraught with fear and constant insecurity.

In India, many elders find it outrageous seeking assistance from girl children, especially post marriage. Many cannot imagine living in their daughters' homes. For those elderly couples with only girl children, life becomes very lonely and insecure.

An Attractive Option

This is where the best alternative is found in a retirement home, or retirement retreat. Extremely vigilant and complete physical security is provided, medical attention is provided almost immediately and round the clock, enough facilities are provided for entertainment, personal care is taken for individual diet and nutrition. All facilities are designed especially to suit the precise needs of persons in this age bracket. Most importantly people do not have to bear with complaints of being outdated, of not fitting into fast paced society, of not understanding and being unable to bridge the generation gap. They live in an environment harmoniously, where they can connect with people around them faced with similar problems.

The most important fact to be considered here, is that if all these facilities were to be provided privately, by a family it would consume immense amount of time, personal attention, would be monetarily extremely expensive, and very problematic for commutation to the different places, as these facilities would be available in disparate, scattered places. For eg, travel a distance to meet your friends, travel to the doctor - if the person is not suffering from a serious ailment, travel to the club, and so on.

It is a fast growing idea with a huge market. Although poor old destitutes do need shelter and should have separate, and very differently managed, old age homes for them at no or low cost, an old age home should no more be looked at as just a "charitable institution" or asylum.

It should be taken seriously as a lucrative venture. It should involve management as a career option just like in hotels and resorts.

This project will show how concepts from our age-old Vedic roots can be combined with modern thought to provide the perfect physical, material, emotional, psychological and spiritual solution to problems faced by senior persons today. This project looks into real-life issues that people have in moving into an old age home, and attempts to provide solutions to them through proper planning and application of effective management techniques. This leads us to a very lucrative option for organizational management.

Historic Genesis

Our Indian tradition regards the Vedas to be the fundamental scriptures of knowledge within which is encapsulated the art of living life, the right way.

In Vedic India, the ordinary family life was called a life of the hermitage (ashram or discipline). The family man knew that there were four ashrams or shelters through which he must pass - brahmacharya (celibate student life), grhasthya (married householder life), vanaprastha (retirement and contemplation) and sannyas (monastic life).

In the ancient times, every child, at the age of seven, entered a brahmacharya ashram or hermitage of discipline that was in charge of a wise guru or teacher; the child was thus freed from the more limiting environment of parents, family and social traditions. The children were not allowed to mix with materially minded people.

Up to the tenth year, the brahmachari was taught the scriptures and meditational practices. In his eleventh year he learnt the duties of

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