- Aging & Longevity
Retirement Home Indian Seniors
Retirement Home for Indian Seniors
Retirement Home for Indian Seniors
My dream of a Retirement Home, Village or Apartment Building.
(Stream of Life)
(A Home of Longevity and Happiness)
Welcome to my Dream of Retirement Home for Indian Seniors
In Australia during the last three decades, retirement villages are springing up like mushrooms on a heap of compost in a wet and warm season. Although some are run by non-profit organisations, most of these retirement villages are built and run by companies to make profit. Your finances are at risk here.
(Ref:"'Don't buy Your Retirement Home Without Me"- Richard Andrews)
In 1997 The Victorian government had to create 'Retirement Village Act' to protect the elderly from the unscrupulous operators.
Retired people are moving out of their 40 sqs, 10 rooms mansions and downsizing by moving into 2Br homes in a Retirement Village. There are villages from one star to 5 star categories. Larger the village, more facilities it offers. Of course, more facilities come with more expenses.
I have personally visited some such Retirement Villages in Melbourne, talked to the residents and managers and studied a few others on the internet. They are all based on western style of living. For a westerner, life there is truly enjoyable and full of happiness, like living in Heaven.
Jeevan Dhara – My Dream
From my personal and Indian point of view I did not find any satisfactory to my dream of retirement life.
So I have created my own dream of Retirement Life in a building called
– An Uninterrupted Flow of Life - A Stream of Elixir of Longevity and Happiness.
Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it”.
I invite ALL Indians to join me to dream.
This scheme of Retirement Home removes some of the disadvantages of a normal Retirement Village and incorporates some of the benefits of an Aged Care home.
It is a health promoting life style and with the happiness and enjoyment it offers, it will be possible for every resident to live healthily beyond the age of 100 !!!
This is the retirement home of my dream.
Only 30 to 50 like minded couples are needed to make this a reality. If one wants to happily enjoy the rest of the life of retirement, then one must be willing and prepared to downsize – give up the big 40 squares, 10 rooms mansion and come and live in this 8 squares, 2BR apartment in company of the people with similar desires
As a disclaimer, let me mention that this is not a commercial proposal. I am not building anything and I have nothing to sell. I have devoted my time, energy and resources for doing research and prepared the concept of Jeevan Dhara solely as a service to the Indian community.
In reality, those of you who will be interested in this scheme will have to get together and build it.
At the end of the article, in the ‘Comment Box’, I will welcome, if you will have any, criticism, comments, suggestions or questions.
The Apartment Building
It is a secured building with double door entrance to the foyer.
It is a multi-story apartment building, comprising 30 to 50 apartments. (Less than 32 will be uneconomical, larger than 48 may have management or social difficulties)
One apartment is reserved for the cook/servant.
Every apartment is of same size. It has two bedrooms, one bathroom, open living lounge/dining/kitchen and a balcony. When only one or two persons are living in an apartment there is no need for an ‘en-suite’ or additional bathroom. This reduces the cost of construction and maintenance.
There are three automatic lifts. One is programmed to return to ground floor and one is programmed always to park at the top floor. This is to facilitate emergency requirement.
Not for Investment
These apartments are not for investment. The apartment has to be owner-occupied and cannot be rented.
If ever needed to be sold, it can be sold only to a retired Indian, approved by the management committee and who agrees to abide by the rules of Jeevan Dhara Apartments.
Wheelchair excess is from car park to anywhere in the building, including the roof-top garden and in the apartment also. It is very convenient to move around in the building. The residents are totally immune from the effects of the outside weather. One can go to dining room (first floor), meeting/satsang room (second floor) or the roof garden using the lift. So do not have to walk outside in unpredictable weather.
A secured car garage. One car space per apartment plus a small storage space.
First Floor – Dining in Luxury
Entrance foyer, concierge, a swimming pool and the dining hall with fully equipped modern kitchen are on this floor. The morning tea, breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, cost of which are included in the deposit to the JDAOA Trust Fund, are served here. Additional tea/coffee can be had from the coin operated vending machine.(More details below in para "No More Cooking).
A special sub-committee of occupiers is formed to supervise the meals time and manage the procurement of the provisions and deciding the menu. The menu is decided for a month in advance and ensures varieties of delicious food items.
(L & G Toilets included on the floor)
A) Entertainment/Discourses/Physical Activities - Everyday there is some interesting activity in the common hall. It may be a discourse on spiritual or health related subject by an invited expert or some entertainment programme. Yoga, Tai-Chi, Aerobics, Dancing, Word Games, Quiz, and similar physical and mental activities are organised to help occupants keep physically and mentally fit. No more long distance driving in unfavourable weather to attend any of these. Sometimes a movie or a drama is also screened on the big screen.
Rest of the time it is a place for informal meeting with friends, having chit-chat or playing games like cards, carom, chess, darts, etc. Sofas, chairs and coffee/card tables are here.
B) Library (Self served) – Indian language books and magazines of the choice of the occupants are procured and kept here for reading in the library only. The room has necessary tables and chairs.
C) Meeting/Satsang room – for informal get together, satsang or adhyatmic discussions, bhajans, chanting etc. Participants may bring idols or photos of their choice at the time of the meeting but nothing of that kind is allowed to be left permanently in this room.
D) Prayer room - Non-religious, multi-faith, prayer room has soft light and music. No idol or photograph is allowed to be placed in this room. It is for meditation and silent prayer of who the member believes in. Chanting is also not allowed in prayer room..
E) Manager’s office
(L & G toilets included on the first floor)
Roof Top Garden
The roof of the building has a ‘roof garden’ for enjoying fresh air and lounging in the sun-shine (or romantically walking in the rain !).
1 The market rate of a two bedroom apartment. More away the building is from the CBD, cheaper it will be.
2 Every resident owner deposited a sum of money, per person, in the ‘Jeevan Dhara Apartments Owners Association’ Trust Fund. These moneys are invested or placed in a fixed deposit with a bank. The income from the fund, and where necessary a part of the fund, is used to provide the members with all the necessary services as agreed by all occupants. The amount of this deposit has been decided by calculating it to last for 20 years.
Alternatively a smaller amount may be deposited with additional monthly contribution.
3 The expenses to be paid from the JDAOA Trust Fund are:
A - Canteen expenses – Morning tea, Breakfast, Lunch, afternoon Tea/snacks and Dinner.
B – Cooks and servants
C – Maintenance of the library, games, general toilets, etc.
D – Every apartment cleaned once a week.
E – Cleaning of common area.
F – Maintaining the standard of the building, repair/replacement of the furniture, repainting, etc.
G – Maintenance of the Roof garden.
H – Bus trips to Shopping centre, Restaurants, Cinemas, Clubs, Casino, etc.
I – Security systems for the building and individual lockets.
J - Manager, accountant, if required.
4 Any surplus/deficit is adjusted to the Trust Fund.
5 The cost goes up every year. To maintain the capability of the fund to finance all the services, the management-committee may ask the owners to contribute additional money as required from time to time.
6 Other expenses(Directly paid by Owners):
A – The Body corp fees (Annual-includes building insurance, public liability, etc.)
B – The council rates for the apartment(Annual)
C – Water, Gas and Electricity (Own consumptions)
D – Personal expenses.
E – Additional expenses for Sightseeing, Restaurants, Picnic or other entertainment trips.
A Co-operative Society Constitution:
After the required number of members have registered to accept the concept of Jeevan Dhara as their Retirement Home, they themselves may get together and make arrangement to draw up and register the required constitution and register a Co-operative Community Society. The outline of rules and facilities mentioned here are recommended to form a part of that constitution but is not compulsory. Then proceed to build the apartment building.
A community survives and makes progress and becomes vibrant when noble hearted persons come forward and devote their services to the community. The members must consider what they can contribute physically and/or mentally for the betterment of the living conditions in the building.
Be Positive Think Positive:
My request is that please Be Positive and Think Positive. Before rejecting it outright with a thought like “Seen that Before, Been There’, consider the benefits, advantages and happiness a Retirement Home with the scheme like this will give you and how it will improve the way you are living now. Think of what life style you want. Do you want a better life style then what you have now ? What changes you would wish to make in the way you are living now. Any changes you wish to make in your life style, you have to make while you are still mentally capable and physically able to do so. Definitely not after the onset of Alzheimer’s/dementia or being in a wheel chair. It is like building the wall before the flood comes.
No smoking is allowed anywhere in the building (toilets and garage included).
Every Sunday there is a birthday party to celebrate the birthday of the person/persons whose birthday falls during that week. With so many owner- occupants there is always somebody’s birthday during a week. The birthday person’s grandchildren are admitted free on that day. A cake is provided by the management. It is a feast day and a sweet and a farsan are included in the menu for that day. If anybody wish to provide additional item he/she can do so at own expense. Help for the procurement may be provided where possible.
In house, weatherproof, entertainments and dining are allright. But occasionally a person likes to go and enjoy the outside world. Group tours will be organised for Picnics, Restaurants, Cinemas, Casino, Sight Seeing, Sports, Seminars, etc.
Loneliness is the biggest enemy of a human being and it is worse in the old age. It breaks down even a person of strong mind and healthy body. It invites varieties of diseases. The worst condition a person suffers in the old age and specially living alone is Alzheimer's and other Dementia. It happens mostly when a person is very lonely and has nobody to talk to. Even in a family environment it can happen to a senior who is neglected. Whereas there is no cure for it, it can be delayed or prevented by keeping the mind constantly occupied and active. In Jeevan Dhara a member is surrounded by so many friends and involved in multitudes of activities that there is rarely an idle moment for the mind.
The members are encouraged to take up a hobby. A hobby increases the interest in life and adds to happiness. Other than reading and writing, there are hundreds of hobbies suitable for the seniors. Some may need to spend money, some may be free and some can even generate an income.
Not a Nursing Home or An Aged Care Home
This is not a nursing home or aged care centre. This is the home of a very friendly, vibrant community and they live like a family. In the true tradition of a Hindu undivided family, they look after each other in sickness and comfort in sad or unhappy situation. However, if anyone needs a 24 hour care taker and a regular nursing then a special arrangement may have to be made at their expense.(there may be government subsidy available) or they may have to be moved to a hospital as recommended by their doctor.
Retirement and Health
For most people retirement means end of activity. Slowly but steadily they are moving towards the end of life. In time to come, Ishwar only knows, which one of us will have body degenerating conditions like Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson, suffer stroke or be in a wheelchair with broken hip. At that time, don't be a burden to your children. Be independent. Living in a friendly community like this will make life bearable, if not happier.
Safety and Security
Often we see a news item in which a decayed body of an aged person is found whom nobody, including neighbour, called upon or checked.
Nothing like that can ever happen in Jeevan Dhara. Here the neighbours will keep an eye on each other.
There is a knock on the door of every apartment three times a day – morning, afternoon and evening – to ensure that occupants are safe. Also, if somebody did not turn up in the dining hall at any meal time, it will be noticed and inquired.
The apartment building is safe and secure. So for those who become so fragile that they find it difficult to open the door when some friend is visiting, it is safe to leave the front door unlocked.
Each occupant has a necklace with pendant or a bracelet carrying an emergency button, which can be pressed in case of need of ‘Help’, like having fallen down or rolled out of bed and can’t get up, or have hurt, or having heart pain, etc. The help comes immediately. There is a special emergency alarm (other than the fire alarm) which goes on to let everybody in the building know that somebody is in trouble and needs help.
The caretaker has the master key for all apartments.
(In the retirement villages we visited, there were emergency buttons mounted on the walls of main bedroom and kitchen. But these would not be useful if a person has fallen down or is having a heart attack and can’t get up)
Jeevan Dhara is Not an Ordinary retirement home
This is not a Retirement Village run by any company for profit. This is a self-managed co-operative community where everybody shares the expenses.
Jeevan Dhara is a home of a retirement lifestyle of unprecedented imagination, full of life and a life full of excitement. It is so much full of comfort, happiness and enjoyment that here it feels like being in Heaven without going there. People going in a retirement village sometimes say, ‘This is my last home, I will die here.’ But I would say, ‘I came here to live, I will enjoy life here.’
It may be possible for every resident of Jeevan Dhara to achieve healthily the age of 100 and more.
Add A Little Luxury
This life-style is a modified and improvised version of a happily living Hindu joint family; it is a large Indian co-operative community family lifestyle full of luxury.
Life in retirement need not be a drab, lonely, tiring, interest-less. Members/occupants are provided with so much entertainment, enjoyment, and encouragement to pursue the hobby of their choice that they all wish they were in a place like this many years before.
India, A Multicultural Nation
India has many major languages. Each state is based on a language. Although majority of people follow Hinduism and their life is influenced by the teachings and philosophy of Gita and other ancient Hindu scripts, every linguistic state in turn has developed its own unique culture, customs and food habits. So effectively India is a True Multicultural Nation. Indians have taken their language, culture, customs and food habits to whichever country they have gone and settled. Therefore it makes sense that if the people speaking the same language and having a common cultural base live together then more harmony and tolerance is maintained amongst them. The core pillar of Jeevan Dhara is just that. Occupants of each Jeevan Dhara speak a common language and have same cultural base. Vegetarians and non-vegetarians will be living in separate buildings.
No More Cooking
When a man retires from active money generating work, he is totally free and at liberty to use his time any which way he likes. But when a woman retires, the kitchen work is still hanging around her neck like a ‘mill stone’. She still has to run to the supermarket for shopping and cook the breakfast, lunch and dinner !
In Jeevan Dhara, it is removed. There is no more grocery shopping and cooking work for women, unless an individual decides otherwise.
All meals – the morning tea, breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea/snacks and dinner are included in a deposit of sum of money to the JDAOA Trust Fund (Jeevan Dhara Apartments Owners Association).
For a couple living alone, and sometimes a single person, cooking a meal every day is a big dilemma. At times the lunch or dinner is even skipped. There is no real incentive to cook and no more any satisfaction or pleasure in every day meal.
Imagine the pleasure of having a ready cooked selection of a smorgasbord of over half a dozen delicious dishes in every meal instead of having only one, two or at the most three items cooked for our lunch or dinner.
Imagine everyday you are having hot buffet breakfast in a hotel in Singapore, buffet lunch in Rajbhog restaurant and a buffet dinner in Courtyard by Marriott.
Does not just the thought of it fill the mouth with water and the mind with happiness ?
This is the biggest advantage of living in a large community family where all the meals are cooked by an expert chef for a large number of members.
Half The Pleasure of Living
It is recognised by everybody, regardless of race, religion or culture, that half the pleasure of living is in the food we eat. As we grow old, with diabetes, heart weakness, bowl disorder and many similar age-related degenerating conditions setting in, doctors put a lot of restrictions on our eating selection. But what we eat every day need not be plain and tasteless. Although the management or the committee of Jeevan Dhara cannot guarantee perfectness, with the consultation of the expert dieticians and cooking experts of Indian food, they will endeavour to make the everyday menu full of tasteful and enjoyable items. India is a very large multicultural nation. There is a vast variety of food cooked in every home. Popular variety of Gujarati, Punjabi, Maharashtrian, North Indian, South Indian delicious dishes will be cooked by rotation. Also will be included the Indianised varieties of popular Chinese, Italian, French, Mexican etc. dishes.
It is well accepted and understood that in the true tradition of the Hindu Undivided Family the hearts of true Indians are craving for the love and company of their children and specially the grandchildren. In the current atmosphere of nuclear lifestyle, influence of the western culture and the socio-economic conditions, the children do not understand the base of the feelings of their parents and tend to neglect them. At Jeevan Dhara, they endeavour to create an environment to attract the children and the grandchildren to visit them at least on special occasions. The grand children are encouraged to spend a weekend or so with the grandparents and even their birthdays are celebrated here.
Indian community has many professionals of various fields. There are doctors, accountants, solicitors, pharmacists, professors, teachers, nurses, builders, etc. and many of them have come to live at Jeevan Dhara. Their services, free or at cost, are available to the members.
In retirement, first thing you have to decide is what type of life style you wish to have. It surely requires physical and mental compromises and adjustments to move from a large bungalow or mansion into a small apartment. Every retirement village may offer different facilities and lifestyle. Outside India they are mostly based on western culture. Hindus and specially vegetarians may need to make too many compromises to fit in there. In the end, everything depends upon your choice of lifestyle and your financial capability. There is a life of contentment and happiness waiting for you and you get what you pay for.
In the End
This is your retirement life and you have to organise it. Don’t wait for your club or association to do it for you. It is not their job. Nor must you look for any government assistance.
Like swami Vivekananda said: Arise, Awake and stop not till the goal is reached’
For more information contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org mentioning your full name, home address, ph. no. age and language.
Note: Please put your suggestions in the comment box.
What would you like to add ?
What needs to be modified ?
As per teachings of Gita - Blessings or curses, all are welcome.