Elderly care vital for community betterment

The need for ‘culturally appropriate’ rest homes that would enable senior members of the society to spend their twilight years in comfort, care and satisfaction was emphasised by a number of political and community leaders at a meeting held in Auckland last week.

“Old people are a formidable force and it is the duty of all New Zealanders to ensure that they receive proper community and health care,” Member of Parliament Phil Goff said, speaking at the inauguration of a separate wing for South Asians at the David Lange Care Home in Mangere East on January 10, 2013.

An open blessing

The special wing called, ‘Aashirwad,’ is now open at the rest home, following a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Bharatiya Samaj Charitable Trust (BSCT) and Bupa Care Services on November 29, 2012 (Indian Newslink, December 15, 2012).

‘Aashirwad,’ comprises well-equipped double rooms (suitable for couples) and single rooms with round-the-clock services including medical care provided by a complement of qualified and trained staff.

The inmates of this special wing would also enjoy the common facilities such as a lounge, cafeteria, television programmes (in addition to Indian channels available in the individual rooms of ‘Aashirwad’).

“We must respect the sentiments of seniors who like to maintain their culture, language and spirituality even after they move into rest homes. In less than three years, New Zealand would account for a larger share of older people and those of Indian origin would be in substantial numbers. There is therefore a need for such rest homes to look after them,” Mr Goff said.

Demographic diversity

Earlier, commending the efforts of Jeet Suchdev, Chairman of BSCT and other trustees, Bupa Care Services Managing Director Dr Dwayne Crombie said that the growing diversity of demography and the increasing number of older people in various communities posed a severe challenge in Auckland.

“Proper care of elderly people is a social issue in many countries including China, which, despite their economic wealth, faces a huge problem.

“With children away from parents and with adults in full time employment, the need to look after elders, providing them with appropriate care is becoming more pronounced today than ever before.

“BSCT is committed to providing such facilities to the people of South Asian origin and we are happy that Bupa has been able to share that commitment and enable Mr Suchdev and his team to provide appropriate services to the concerned communities. We believe in meeting the religious and cultural needs of the elderly,” he said.

Historic moment

Mr Suchdev described the opening of ‘Aashirwad’ as a ‘historic moment’ in its 17-year-old history and said that the services and facilities at the new wing will continue to evolve with the needs of the people.

“The project began about 18 months ago, when Labour MP Louisa Wall took the initiative (at an ethnic meeting organised by the Trust) to help with contacts, meetings and support. We are happy that Bupa has taken us as their companion in meeting the needs of our aged people,” he said.

Among the other speakers at the event were BSCT Patrons Dr Ashraf Choudhary, Dr Bruce Hucker, trustee Roopa Suchdev, social and community worker Wenceslaus Anthony, Labour MP Dr Rajen Prasad and BSCT Public Relations Office Neelam Choudhary.

Among the others present were Roshini Chadha (trustee), Mahesh Bindra, P Chandrasekaran, Harjit Singh and Anil Vazirani (executive committee members).

Indian Newslink will carry another report with more pictures in its next issue.

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