A home away from home
Geeta Shankar, the founder and managing trustee of Omashram Trust Old Age Care in Bengaluru is a lady with lot of poise and compassion towards the needy She is working since 17 years to help and love the elders neglected by their families
Geeta Shankar, the founder and managing trustee of ‘Omashram Trust – Old Age Care’ in Bengaluru is a lady with lot of poise and compassion towards the needy. She is working since 17 years to help and love the elders neglected by their families.
Omashram Trust-Old Age Care is a charitable trust formed with the objective to provide care to the abandoned elderly in the evening of their lives. Established in the year 2001 by Geeta it is presently housing 65 elderly residents.
Through it, she provides medical facilities, psychiatric counselling, entertainment and care to the elderly. It’s like a home away from home for the elderly who mostly belong to the poor or middle-class families and are above 60. She founded this old age home with Late Mohan Pai.
She says, “We decided to start something of our own and we found that the elderly were neglected; so we decided to do something for them. We wanted to provide shelter for elderly on a short term basis - like a concept of crèche where if in case the family needs to go out they can leave the elderly at the ashram and next day they can take them. Subsequently, when the process started repeating it became a full-fledged ashram.”
She relates,“Challenges were-many. To do something like this we need finances. People when they came to avail these kinds of services they were from different financial backgrounds. So, we made it a flexible cost. If it’s a poor family, we take care of them free of cost, but if children come to drop their parents because they don’t have time, or they are able to pay, then, we charge them. Mohan Pai passed away in 2010 it became more challenging for me.”
Omashram is an old age home where one can see the family atmosphere. “We try to give the inmates personal touch of care. When you have to look after the elderly we have to look after them as children. Honestly speaking taking care of an old age home is not a big rocket science.
Nowadays, because of the horrific situations seen in our society, the ashram could be a safer place for the elderly. The longevity of life is more nowadays. Every elderly has medical issues and we take care of these issues like a family.”
There is a full provision of residential lodging and entertainment for these people at Omashram and for the bed ridden old people special staff to look after them is also employed.
“Doctors come check the patients and when anyone joins here we will take a declaration that they will not be hospitalised because they are too old now and there is no point in putting them in a hospital. We manage everything here.”
“I would say that an old age home is like a pediatric centre. Here in the ashram, being the head, I will not stop anyone from eating anything that they like.”
“These elderlies have life experiences more than internet and we get to learn so much from them,” she adds. The ashram has financial crunch. She shares, “We spend around 10 to 12 lakhs per month. We have a lot of well-wishers like corporate etc. We beg or borrow to make our ends meet.”
She has received many awards for her work. She is not too happy about this. “I feel happy taking care of them, but I feel bad that children cannot take care of their own parents. In the long run we want to combine old age home with an orphanage because grandparents and grandchildren relationship can be established, which will help both,” she avers.