‘Soham’ Where ageing will be a new beginning

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Nov 2018 09:22:28


By Rahul Dixit,

SUNSET years of life bring the most challenging phase for people when loneliness becomes a constant companion and longing for company takes a heavy toll on senses. A vast majority of elderly people in our society undergoes this unwanted trauma of being alone in their last years. This problem is glaringly evident in middle and upper middle class households where youngsters move out in search of bright careers and parents are often left to fend for themselves.

Moved by this situation of the elderly people, who live alone and despite all comforts available keep fighting loneliness, the Women’s Home Trust has come up with ‘Soham’, a peaceful and yet vibrant retreat for senior citizens, where ageing would mean a beautiful new beginning.

Brought up with a mission to “care for those who once cared for us”, ‘Soham’ is situated in the heart of Nagpur, near Rani Jhansi Square, opposite Agricultural College farmland. Spread over 56,000 sq ft land, it is the first of its kind of cluster of fully furnished studio apartments with a lively and vibrant environment for elderly people.

Rather than calling it as a seniors’ living facility, the Trust members prefer to term it as a retirement resort. It has 52 airy apartments for short and long stays, with each having an air-conditioner, fridge and television. The entire facility is built after minute research of old age homes across the country. All the problems of old people were taken into consideration before the project was launched on the Trust-owned property in 2015.

“Ageing can be the start of a new carefree chapter in life. The project is not commercial but aims to be self-sustaining,” says Varsha Manohar, President of Women’s Home Trust.

Due care is taken to provide helpful facilities to the inmates. Entire property has non-skid flooring, friendly doorways, garden, foyers, gymnasium, lawns, in-house catered meals, library and large common rooms. The toilets have grab rails and also panic buttons in case of emergency.

“Old people are used to living a certain lifestyle. There are people from middle and upper middle class who have all the facilities but are living alone. ‘Soham’ strives to provide them all these facilities and most importantly a human contact while allowing them their own privacy,” Manohar explains.

The project cost the Trust a whopping Rs 11 crore. The officials had it at the back of their mind for many years but ‘Soham’ could become a reality only after generous donation from the M L Pendse Foundation, the President adds.

Happiness and people’s safety is paramount for the Trust at ‘Soham’. It will have attendants, helpers, and security to take care of the inmates. Other facilities include card room, indoor games and rich collection of books mostly donated by Trust members. A physiotherapy unit will be operational daily at nominal rate. Since it is a self-sustaining project, certain amount will be charged from the inmates. Selection will be done strictly after proper scrutiny and interviews of the interested people and/or their dependents.
‘Soham’ will also have a Day Care Programme for the elderly whose family members are out for work during the day. Such persons can be dropped for the day and picked up in the evening.

The administration has also planned regular outings, shopping and picnics for the people staying there. The idea is to give the people a place where they do not lose out on the essential human connect.
A stay facility has also been created for visiting family members. A panel of well-known doctors will take care of medical check-ups while nurses will be regularly available on the premises. The inmates will have to strictly adhere to the code of conduct in place.

“One thing is sure, when dependents would leave their elderly people at ‘Soham’ they will go with a comfortable feeling that their kin are in safe  hands and a happy place,” Manohar signs off. ‘Soham’ will be inaugurated at the hands of Union Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari on November 10.