Published: 07th August 2018
India's Oldest Old Age Homes: How Sevashram in Telangana is an abode for distressed souls left behind by their families
In the Medak district of Telangana, there is a safe haven for all those old souls who otherwise have been abandoned by their own
That senior citizens are often abandoned by their own family is not a new phenomenon nor is the fact that the world needs more old age homes that give the elderly the love and care they deserve. There are several old age homes which offer senior citizens a shelter and have been striving to do so for many years and one such place is Sevashram. Founded in 1994 and shifted to Annaram (about 20 km from Balanagar), a village in the Medak district of Telangana in 2001, Sevashram is an abode for all those distressed souls who have been left behind by their families, intentionally or otherwise. "Post-industrialisation and in the era of the MNC culture, people prefer living in nuclear families. Many family values have been lost," laments M V Bhadram, one of the founders of this facility which is built on an acre of land. This thought awakened him to the belief that old age homes are the need of the hour and this is how Sevashram came to be.
All ears: During one of the events organised at Sevashram
We are a family
Of course, it's well-equipped and has a TV, a library where newspapers and periodicals are available along with a gym and what not. But what sets Sevashram apart is the love and affection that one gets in a family-like atmosphere, says Bhadram. "Apart from amenities, mental peace is also very important in old age and that is a part we take care of well," he says, adding that they recently celebrated their Silver Jubilee year. Indeed, they don't only organise small games. As per the doctor's instructions, who comes every Wednesday, they even customise exercises and diet plans. "The inhabitants not only live together, they even sit, eat and spend time together. They are like a family," says 87-year-old who lives with his own family in Hyderabad and keeps visiting Sevashram on a regular basis. Bhadram himself is from Tenali, a city in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. Once when he visited the US and saw old age homes there, he thought he should start one here too.
Currently, there are 20 rooms occupied by 40 people. Sevashram was once awarded the Best Old Age Home of (the then joint) Andhra Pradesh, India
All about love
And it is this family-like atmosphere and care that has been the draw of Sevashram since its inception. Their very first inhabitant, when in the care of her family, couldn't talk, move or eat. After coming to Sevashram and with a regular dose of tender love and care, her health was restored. Her family, however, took her back because of a property issue and her health was back to square one. Even now, their inhabitants, who are charged Rs 6,000 per month, do visit their own homes but don't stay there for too long. "It is not just about the food and shelter we provide, it is the happiness and comfort of staying here" concludes Bhadram.
By the book: Inhabitants at the well-stocked library in Sevashram
For more on them, click on sevashramap.org