The Concept of Community Senior Living in India
The concept of community senior living or senior citizen living is a recent
phenomenon in India. Prior to this the joint-family system of life seemed to
work perfectly well. Most people were part of extended joint families
comprising grandfathers, grandmothers, uncles, aunts, and cousins all living
together. While this system had its own advantages like providing around the
clock security and ready baby-sitters for families that had infants, privacy was
something that was quite hard to find.
With the evolvement of the concept of nuclear families, and ambitious young
men and women seeking greener pastures abroad, the idea of exclusive senior
citizen communities living in groups of likeminded people became quite
popular. These settlements took care of not just the basic needs like food and
shelter but went a step further and provided personalized medical care and
Minor details like housekeeping was taken care of, and the leisure time could
be gainfully spent either browsing through the books in the library, browsing
the Internet, or playing a game of tennis (for the fitter people in the group) or
simply settle down for a game of carom, chess or bridge.
Most of these senior citizen homes went a step further to create a sense of
staying in a home away from home for the senior citizen living in the
community. The festival season was given great importance to, starting with the
Dussehra festival, otherwise popular known as kolu or navarathiri, which was
celebrated for a period of nine days, culminating in Vijayadasami.
These senior citizen housing settlements believe in celebrating many other
festivals like Pongal and Diwali as well with great fanfare. The residents never
feel they are away from home, actually they seem to enjoy these festivals a lot
more as they get to spend time with likeminded people belonging to more or
less the same status.
Dance and music also seem to be part and parcel of the festive activities, where
youngsters visit these people and participate in the various cultural events
organized thoughtfully by the management of most retirement homes that dot
Of course, the elderly mamis living in the group turn out looking really smart in
their colourful Kancheepuram silk saris and show their handiwork through the
colourful kolams that have intricate designs and patterns.
The men folk are content to be observant bystanders, though they would never
want to miss the variety of sundals that are offered as prasadam. While the
womenfolk exchange thamboolams and manjal and kunkumams, the men
indulge in idle gossip covering what’s the latest in the US where their children
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