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A bright twilight zone

Monday, November 5, 2001 The Hindu, Bangalore

Institutional care for the aged is rare in India. One such geriatric care home in Bangalore is Asha Jeevan. It has two branches - one in Vijaya Bank Layout (behind IIM) and another in Hulimavu on Bannerghatta Road.

Asha Jeevan, run by Ms. Sujatha Bhat and Ms. Kalpana Mallya, is unusual for it takes not only old people who are healthy, but also those who are bed-ridden and need complete care and attentions. Besides providing lifetime shelter to those in need, Asha Jeevan also admits cases of short-term care, where the children or caretakers may have to go out of town for a certain period of time.

Right now, the place has 40 residents, some of whom have crossed 80. one can see here people from various social and religious backgrounds. Among the inmates are well-known figures such as the music composer and violinist, Mr. Padmacharan, and the aunt of the tennis player, Mr. Vijay Amritaraj. Some people here suffer from ailments such as Parkinson's disease, rheumatism, and psychiatric disorders. Asha Jeevan has a tie-up with Shanti Clinic for medical attention. Psychiatrists also visit the place regularly. There are facilities for yoga, meditation and indoor games. Nutritious vegetarian diet is given to the inmates.

Earlier, the institution depended entirely from people from Kerala, through the Red Cross Society, for nursing help. But now, Asha Jeevan imparts training to people aged between 18 and 36 in nursing care and also assures the placement. So far, 193 people have been provided placements.

Orphans, destitutes, and physically-challenged are also recruited to help inmates. They are provided boarding and lodging, and their salary is credited to their bank account.

Ms. Bhat and Ms. Mallya give full credit to the nursing staff for the success of the institution. They say that the institution gets no financial assistance from the government or any NGO, but charges a reasonable fee for the care.

Asha Jeevan can be contacted on 663814 or 6595620.