Saturday Nov 26, 2022
Saturday Nov 26, 2022

Elder Care Homes: Taboo to Tradition?

Today we visit Hope Hermitage and meet with the CEO to discuss the culture of senior citizen treatment and the taboo surrounding the concept of elderly homes in the country

2022 Feb 08, 7:57,

“They’ve left their parents in an old age home”, jeers the nameless yet omnipresent neighbor in almost every nook and cranny in the country. The taboo surrounding the concept of old age homes, or elderly care centers is one that is deep rooted in our society; unjustly hung as a banner of shame on the sons and daughters who decide to give their parents specialized care 24/7 rather than let them suffer at home.

“The entire definition of the elderly care centers in the country is wrong, it’s misinterpreted as a place where children simply abandon their parents or grandparents for a lack of love or respect, but it's quite the opposite. The elderly care service is a noble venture wherein the modern world where these children are preoccupied with the thousand problems they face are unable to provide optimum care for their parents, some diseased, some with certain disabilities opt to enlist our services to provide their beloved parents the best personalized round the clock care in a community based residential environment.” says the CEO of Hope Hermitage Elderly Care, Pramila Bajracharya Thapa.

“You can’t really fault a child who wants the best for his parents. Many times I see this guilt in the children themselves about the fact that they've opted for an elderly care service. There is no guilt to be had at all, it's all archaic societal constructs that we let foster in our heads. In the modern world, to suit the needs of the modern society we must not let elderly care services still remain a taboo.” Thapa Affirms.

Hope Hermitage Elderly Care is one of the many private elderly care facilities that provide such noble services to the senior citizens of our nation. Established around 8 years ago as a simple day care facility, Hope Hermitage quickly grew into the residential and special care service that it is today for its excellent work in elderly citizen care. The Hope Hermitage Elderly Care premises are divided into 3 blocks, Block “A” as the Intensive or the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Center, blocks “B” and “C” as the residential living quarters. With the provision of in-home care also available, the center specializes in helping Alzheimer’s and dementia patients providing them optimum diets and living conditions while also providing the same for all the elderly citizens in their care.

“There have been plenty of cases where the senior citizen being brought to live with us is rather reluctant to join us. One of the senior citizens, 92 years old and hailing from a rather rich family, was so timid to join us that she cried the entire night before she was brought here. She told me that she cried as she thought she would be living a rather difficult life in the home but, at the same time, did not resent her children as she knew their constraints. But when she arrived here and lived with our caretakers and met our other senior citizens, within a day her outlook on the center and her mood switched. She absolutely loves life and lived out the rest of her life with us,” shares Thapa.

“So, yes, this negative aura around the elderly care service prevalent in both the elders and the children can be attributed to society and the severe misinformation. When parents hear that they’re being taken to a care facility, they think of the Pashupati Briddashram and, hence, the feeling of abandonment starts to set in. We want to change that. We want to create a positive outlook on our service and normalize such services in the country that needs it the most.

“I led a rather comfortable life early on. I was an activist who worked for NGOs and HR firms. I got to travel the world, my children were settled and life was comfortable, yet I always had that feeling in me to do something more. I always had that attachment towards the elderly citizens. When I saw them on roads, trying to cross roads or just standing, I was intrigued by their mannerisms and always felt compassionate, wanting to help them and listen to their stories. Thus, I decided to open this place, to pursue my passion to help out the elderly of our nation.” informs Thapa.

“Initially, before I began this venture there was a lot of research we had to do before we took the leap, the biggest problem when we started out was not the lack of clients or a lack of skill but a lack of manpower. It was hard to find nurses and caretakers willing to commit their time to the elderly as it is a challenging job. So, we went out and recruited the domestic helpers who go around doing dishes, washing clothes and promised them stable and good incomes and vocational training for the job they are to embark upon” proudly adds Thapa. “We have 100 trainee nurses undergoing skill training while 40 are already in active duty, we also have a residential doctor, a cook, one of everything our beloved elderly might need!”

“I’ve worked here for almost 7 years and am absolutely dedicated to this field. I love my job, not only the adults but us caretakers also get taken care of. We have daily shifts but the entire day doesn't feel like a shift, conversing, laughing and providing care to the elderly fulfills your heart in indescribable ways. That doesn't mean there are difficult aspects to the job, there are; dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, it's always a bit difficult when they have episodes but we do our best to calm them down and talk them out of it to bring them back to their jolly selves again!” says Sonu Poudel, a veteran nurse/care-giver working at the Intensive Care Wing.

The general aura of this privately run elderly care home seems to be one of a family closely knit together and tackling and encouraging the elderly to lead more proactive and jolly lives in a social setting. In conversation with one of the residents at the home, Suryaman Baniya - a 92 year old living with his wife under the care of Hope Hermitage - mentions of the atmosphere around the place, “We love it here, everyone is my friend, I know a lot of different people and talk and enjoy with them. The food here is also amazing, I love it, it's well cooked and we’re never not full so that's great! Also the director ma’am (signaling towards Thapa) loves giving us hugs which we love, too!"


Elderly care home Hop Hermitage Senior citizens Senior Daycare Alzheimer's dementia Care
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