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When is the right time to check into assisted living?

Assisted Living

How do you decide when your loved ones need assisted living?

Here are a few pointers that could help.

One of the signs to watch out for are slips, loss of balance and falls. As one grows older and the body gets weaker, the chances of these accidents increase. Falls can result in accidents needing surgery or can sometimes prove fatal. Your loved ones need all the care they can get and someone to assist them as they move around. This will help prevent accidents and this care is possible with assisted living. Some people do go in for domestic help but then they are barely qualified to provide the kind of assistance needed.

Another sign to watch out for is elders struggling to manage their activities of daily living (ADL) which are needed to live independently. These include things like brushing the teeth, bathing, shopping, taking medicines, dressing and so on.

Another sign to check into assisted living is when they start losing their memory. They may forget where they kept their things, forget that they ate or overeat or even lose their way home. This forgetfulness can make them prey top outsiders and vendors who could exploit them.

Or they have been diagnosed with diseases like Alzheiemer’s or Dementia. Assisted living will be a safer option for them as there would be someone to handle these issues that crop up in day-to-day life. Besides that, there are others suffering from terminal diseases like cancer and they need specialised care and monitoring.

Socially, you might find elders retracting themselves from society, avoiding visiting people, giving up hobbies and interests that they were once passionate about or avoiding social contacts. They may withdraw into themselves. These could be because they lack the confidence that they can travel on their own or that they may be suffering depression. That is when they would need assisted living.

Assisted living can bring back the confidence they lost and put back their dignity. It will make them happier and even improve their health is in some cases. What can be better than having the assurance that your loved ones are in a safe and protected environment rather than constantly wondering about them as you go about your daily routine.

A wellness tip – How about protecting yourself from the flu?

If you are above 65 years it is best to take a flu shot at the beginning of the influenza season. And protect yourself says Smita Aiyar. Here is why.

People with diabetes, lung problems and kidney problems must take this simple precaution every year.

Influenza or flu is an infection of the upper airway. Typical signs of flu will be cold, fever, sore throat and headache.It can cause weakening of the body to fight other diseases. When the body has weakened it is likely that complications of the lung can develop. Like Pneumonia.

A flu shot does not cost much. Should be around Rs.500. Pick it up from any medical store . Check the validity of the shot. Because a vaccine from a previous year will generally not give protection the following year. Because each year WHO ( World Health Organisation) studies the prevalent viruses and decides the composition of the flu shot to make it relevant.

Take it to your doctor and request him to give it to you.

Other preventive measures include

1. Washing your hands regularly with soap.
2. Coughing and sneezing into your shirt sleeve rather than your hands

Flu shots are not made mandatory in India but they go a long way in protecting seniors from the colds , coughs and fevers that come with the change in season.Taking the flu shot may not eliminate the flu, but it is generally believed that the symptoms may be less severe.

Healthy eating, exercise, sleep, de-stress and monitoring vitamin D levels are all factors that should be addressed to keep you well this flu season

More Power to you

There has never been a better time in life than this to sit back and recount on the lessons of life. Cultivating remarkable resilience and faith through these significant years of life has possibly made you tougher and stronger.


Today, you realize what truly matters. You’ve lived through some amazing times, seen your children turn into adults and perfectly happy to accept that some things can never stay under your control.

1. Get closer to nature – A long nature walk is extremely therapeutic so take a walk in the park, or spend time growing plants in your little garden . Let the mind wander.

2. Read a book – Pick your favourite book off the shelf, curl up on your bed, enjoy a piping cup of coffee and read it up.

3. Cook a treat– Pamper yourself with good food on this special day. Cook a meal or order a treat and feel delighted.

4. Soothe your senses – Walk in to the spa for relaxing massages that will calm your aching muscles, rejuvenate your senses.

5. Shop till you drop – Once in a while, shopping can be healing. Just go all out and shop for yourself.

6. Meet your friends – There is nothing more comforting than meeting your old friends for a coffee or lunch. Plan an evening and make memories with people who truly matter.

7. Do nothing but wonder – Sometimes, idling away time is equally important. Watching at empty spaces or allowing your mind to wander endlessly can also leave you feeling happy.

Do whatever takes your fancy – just make sure it ends up making you feel spectacular!
Live, love and inspire for you are truly special and powerful.

As we get older


When you are old, spend as much time as possible with your other half. Remember, one of you will most likely leave first and the one left behind will only have memories to cherish.

When you are old, there will come a time when getting to your own front door will be a challenge. So while you still can, visit as many places as possible.

When you are old, stop worrying about your children. They will make their fortunes. Just make sure you have settled all your dues before you go so they will not have to bear any and that you will be able to leave without regret.

When you are old, seize every opportunity to be with old friends, former classmates and former colleagues. There will be fewer such opportunities as time goes by. Running water does not go back and so it is with life.

When you are old, treat sickness with optimism. Whether you are rich or poor, everyone goes through the process of
birth, aging, sickness and death. There are no exceptions. That is life.

– Anonymous

Painting as a hobby

Smita Aiyar says take up Painting as a hobby.

Turning 60 can be fun like we say. Its time to declutter your life, take a few holidays , visit old friends and even develop a hobby.


A new hobby fires your brain neurons , gives you a new purpose in life. Challenges your ability and most of all it tickles your creative capacities.

Why not try your hand at painting? I am convinced everyone can paint. But many of us have preconditioned notions about our abilities. We are always convincing ourselves how we cannot do this, cannot do that. Why not focus and say we can do this and that.

The hobby ensures you do not let yourself go to seed. It acts as good discipline to leave the house with a purpose. So find a painting teacher nearby. Keep aside two days in a week for this new found hobby.


Start with water colours or crayons. Personally I was not motivated with crayons! Don’t set high standards. You are not going for any appraisal! Then you will be surprised at what you can produce.

I remember a karaoke session one Squadron Leader Unni Menon invited us to. He wanted everyone to sing. Most of us shyed away when we were handed the mike. Now Unni was a good singer and with around 50 people at the party watching one could hardly croak. Then Unni said “ sing all of you”. The crowd broke into song. It was fun!

I always remember fondly his advice that day. “Everyone can sing”. Painting is just like singing. Everyone can paint.


P. Saraswati (in the picture above) is an artist. Most days she does voluntary work in the NGO that helps gypsy children. She also paints in her spare time. Here you see her doing a painting with acrylic. Other senior artists are also painting. So why not you?

The Serial Walker

#sunriseatsixty & how!

 Say hello to Mr. Pushpanath Krishnamurthy – A Villefranche retirement home owner.


Pushpanath ‘Push’ Krishnamurthy has spent three decades at the leading edge of development work across three continents. Push has spent much of his professional career at Oxfam, where he acquired legendary status for his pioneering work on campaigns such as Make Trade Fair, the Climate Change Hearings, HIV/ AIDS, etc. An accomplished communicator and storyteller, Push takes complex issues and popularizes them for grassroots constituencies using a blend of traditional advocacy and new approaches. Push brings grassroots experience from regions as diverse as East Asia, Southern Africa, the Balkans and the Caucasus, and India. He is skilled in building multi-racial, cross-cultural teams and motivating highly diverse communities. With a background in development studies and agricultural science, Push also brings expertise in issues ranging from anti-poverty programmes, refugee rehabilitation, sustainable livelihoods, agricultural finance; disaster preparedness; participatory development; environmental assessment and gender.


In December 2009, Push embarked on a Walk for Climate Justice from Oxford, UK, to Copenhagen, Denmark, to raise attention to the issues of climate change and poverty at the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen. In 2011, he has repeated this effort in a Walk for Climate Justice in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, to raise attention to the plight of small producers such as coffee growers in an era of climate change. The Walk has been supported by the Karnataka Growers Federation (KGF).


Push’s latest walk is anchored in Fair Trade/Climate justice. The walk starts on 20 Nov and ends on 10 Dec as the leaders meet and agree on a FAB(Fair:ambitious;Binding) decision – He will be the medium through which stories and messages will be communicated to Paris and all his supporters who are walking in Indonesia to Nigeria – a km or more shouting GOPUSHGO – sending the photo or video.


He will walk around 30 kms a day. Meet farmers, sustainable business, research stations, schools and local authorities. The idea is to capture stories of hope and good-urge all to make more of them. Many people-from hardened trekkers to youthful college students; mothers and professional women to faith workers all joining Push in this endeavour.


Mr. Pushpananth is a shining example of #sunriseatsixty and how age is just a number when it comes down to making a difference. Go, Push. Go!?

Avoid A Fall

Hospitals are depressing. And put a lot of pressure on the rest of the family too says Smita Aiyar. Here is a wellness tip.

A fall for a senior citizen can be life threatening. If you have had a fall a hospital visit is necessary to check out broken bones, fix lacerations. If you have hurt your head the doctor will probably order a CT Scan too.

How to Avoid A Fall

Its better to be proactive with a few tips. How to avoid a fall and hospital visit –

Falls are common among #seniorliving. Water being the biggest culprit. Most falls happen in the bathroom and cause head injury, bones breaking. Simple dos and donts would go a long way

1.Do replace door mats outside bathrooms with anti slip mats.
2. Do add hand railings immediately. Three railings one near the toilet seat, one in the shower area and one near the wash basin are good to start with.
3. Add a non slip mat on the floor of the bathroom. The non slip mats drain water and keep the mat dry which can prevent a slip.

1. Don’t lock the bathroom door from inside. Use a paper as a door latch. Infact remove all latches of bathrooms! It would go a long way.
2. Don’t go into a bath if you are alone at home. Try to bathe when someone is at home.
3. Don’t leave a wet bathroom for the next person. Wipe it dry.

Our kids will never want anything

Accept this fact early. And see how liberating the feeling is, says Smita Aiyar

Last week we wrote an article about turning 60. We asked our friends to develop other skills, get into an exercise routine and conduct a health check.

How about embarking on another journey. A de-clutter of the house.

De-clutter your home!

Everyday for the next 30 days give away something, anything. See how happy you feel at the end of the month. You will never miss these 30 things, but it will make 30 people happy. A recent incident made me do this.

My first friend left without a goodbye. She was only 61. Her husband has passed on earlier and she lived a wonderful independent life. Driving herself to the shopping centres, cooking for us, going to the club and socializing. But one day she was gone.

Her children came down for her funeral. And right after, they put all her things in the house for sale or giving away. They wanted nothing! Nothing? My friend’s home was filled with beautiful things. She was so house proud. But her kids wanted nothing.

I was surprised. Because in our life span we had valued the old rosewood cupboard that belonged to my mother. And had brought it 2,300 kms down when she died.

We had carefully packed the expensive Noritake crockery and cutlery too . We even built a special glass cupboard for it. Though we had not used it in years we always had a sentimental attachment to what we saw as kids.

We brought with us albums and photographs , yellow and frayed of our great grand parents, grand parents and parents, their home, their dog. We just could not throw them away.

All these were the memories we put in the physical form.

But my friend’s kids wanted nothing.

Suddenly it dawned on me. Life has changed. The kids are well settled , having enough of things they collected on their own. They have no sentimental attachment to old furniture and to things like we had. They have no place in their houses either. So why burden them with the additional responsibility of selling your stuff.

De-clutter your house. You will be happy, your kids will be happy and so will the people who actually need the things you gave to them. Plus you will have more space to walk around !!!

Turning 60

Time to relook says Madhurima Das

You may not feel 60 yet but you are turning one next month! Does it mean your world gets smaller and world restricted? You’re entering the golden age and all you need to be careful about is not to take life too seriously and simply enjoy.

Happy senior couple

Happy senior couple

Having spent a significant part of your life making a career, building a home and raising kids, it is time now to sit back, relax and do as your heart desires. However, having hit the magical age, you also need to schedule certain activities as part of your routine life.

1. If you hadn’t been regular with exercises all this while, it is time to get in to the fitness mode and ensure some form of work-out regularly.
2. Routine health checks to stay on top of any ailment and follow proper medication.
3. Get online. Being net savvy helps you prevent tiresome outdoor trips to the bank, grocer or several offices to pay monthly bills.
4. Drink and smoke in moderation. Try to maintain a healthy and a balanced diet.

A quality lifestyle must consider various engagements that will keep you occupied through the day. Your leisure hours can be ideally apportioned between activities such as:

1. Reading – If you are an avid reader, it is the right time to nurture your relationship with books. Register with a library or stock up on your favourite books and spend your time reading.

2. Socializing – It is a good idea to meet your old bunch of friends and family on special occasions to share smiles and laughter that will keep you in high spirits. You can form a senior citizen community and engage in indoor games such as cards or chess.

3. Working – If you have no significant health ailments, you may take up consultancy projects to keep you engaged few hours for couple of days in a week.

4. Travel – The ideal time to travel with your partner or a group of like-minded individuals, explore new territories and spend your precious time and hard earned money on visiting new places.

5. Pursue a hobby – All that your heart has been longing to pursue, well, it is never too late! You can enrol in your favourite classes like music, theatre, playing an instrument, voluntary services with NGO etc. in order to learn and hone a new skill.

At 60, there’s a new sense of optimism since a large part of your life is already balanced. You’ve every opportunity to create a better life each day. Keep up your spirits and say cheers to the wonderful life!

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