Service for seniors
Nightingales Medical Trust in Bangalore is a name synonymous with elder care. We profile their Center for Ageing and Alzheimer’s and their new program, Jobs 60+.
Walking around the Nightingale’s Center for Ageing and Alzheimer’s is a humbling experience. Located in Kasturinagar, it is a well designed facility that offers a soothing atmosphere for both patients and caregivers. “At the facility we promote a family based support system,” says Premkumar Raja, the co-founder and Trustee of Nightingales Medical Trust (NMT) which runs the center along with several other services for the elderly. Mr. Raja emphasizes that NMT encourages those suffering from dementia to stay with their families as according to them, the family should be strengthened at such a time. “NMT should provide what the family is not able to do,” Mr Raja adds.
The Center for Ageing and Alzheimer’s offers options for both long term care, short term care and even day care for those going out to work and unable to take care of elders with dementia. There is a memory clinic for screening and assessment as well as a fitness and rehabilitation centre among the facilities offered. An important service offered is training for caregivers, who may often be unaware of the challenges involved in caring for an Alzheimer’s patient.
At present there are about 70 patients in the center being cared for. As we are taken around, we are informed by the staff that several activities are conducted to improve the condition of the patients and enrich their daily life. Some of these are pet therapy, water therapy, gardening (even for those in wheelchairs) and a memory corner with an array of objects that belong to the past. We are also informed that none of the patients are referred to as uncle and aunty by the staff but by their names. This is to keep their mind active.
The center offers four bedded and six bedded rooms. The patients are encouraged in various ways, obvious when an elderly resident graciously treats us to an impromptu Bhajan rendition on his Casio. His memory may not be what it used to be but his talent is still sharp. And the Center for Ageing and Alzheimer’s is helping to ensure that it stays that way.
Set up in 1996, NMT also has various other programs for the elderly. One of their recently launched programs is Jobs 60+, which aims to provide employment for elders above 60. The aim is to provide jobs for those with no pension or financial security. The idea germinated during a job fair in 2006, says Merlin Remedios, centre manager at Jobs 60+. “We got more than 1000 people and realized there was a real need of job support for elders.”
Jobs 60+ was eventually launched on Oct 1, 2011, World Elders Day. “We received 138 registration forms in two months,” says Ms Remedios. The Jobs 60+ team seeks out potential employers and matches their requirements with that of the applicants. So far 22 applicants have been placed and Remedios mentions that the employers are happy as seniors bring experience and are responsible and committed. As of now, the job profiles are for mid level executives, like manager in a hotel or service apartment, accountant or sales manager in a firm. Seniors are also offered training in computer skills if required, to keep up with the times.
Nightingales is striving to keep family bonds intact through various innovative, families and community based support systems for elders of different socio-economic groups. Every day, over 800 elders benefit from the services of Nightingales
Nightingales Medical Trust also has several other initiatives for the elderly, including the Day Care Centres, Elders Helpline, in association with the Police Commissioner’s office, Steady Steps, a fall prevention program, Rural Mobile Medicare Program , senior citizen’s ID cards, authorized by the Government of Karnataka and ,Regional Resource and Training Centre for the four Southern States of India authorized by Government of India
To know more and to get a complete list of their services, check out http://nightingaleseldercare.com/
– Reshmi Chakraborty