FOR THESE elderly people, the Senior Citizens Home in Sector 43 is a home away from home. Gian Kaur, 70, was a government employee working under a Central government health scheme. “I have worked all my life. Having fulfilled all my responsibilities, I just want to relax at this point of life. There is no better place than this. My daughter was working in Chandigarh earlier. So I came here. However, my daughter was transferred to New Delhi and I shifted here.” Kaur has been residing in the home for the last 11 years now. Baldev Singh, 88, says, “We just want to relax as we cannot run around at this point of time in our life. It’s better to pay the administration for things like food and other basic needs as it is not possible for us to manage a home.” Baldev retired from the Indian Forest Service many years ago and is residing with his wife Daljit Kaur at the home.
“My wife remains unwell and we cannot manage a house at this age. We have a daughter who is settled abroad. She comes once in a while to visit us. We do not have to worry about small things like the booking of an LPG cylinder, medical facilities and security. At home, we would need to hire a cook, buy vegetables and call a plumber when there is a fault in the water tank. We can’t manage these things at this age.”
Baldev owned a house in Shimla. He had sold it off and decided to shift to the Senior Citizens Home in Sector 43.
Sitting for more than 30 minutes is difficult for 78-year-old Daljit Kaur, who suffers from a severe ailment. “We have a woman who checks our blood pressure and sugar every day. She is there at the home from 9 am to 4 pm. Other than this, medical assistance is always available.”
Most of the senior citizens at the home in Sector 43 have a part-time or a full-time domestic help at their disposal. The help cleans the room and looks after their daily needs. The manager of the home, Dinesh Dixit, ensures that all festivals are celebrated in a grand way.
Ajit Singh, 94, who was a lecturer and has worked with the State Museum in Shimla, says, “I used to stay in Shimla during summers and come to the home during winters. Then I finally decided to stay at the home as it was not possible for me to stay in the hills anymore.”