Social security and provisional plans for retirement are hardly realistic for people from economically deprived environment. Since the traditional family structures are splitting up rapidly in India as well, the challenges for seniors to find a secure place in society are tough. Harsh realities have replaced care and support.
The gist of what our Aum Pranava Ashram Old-Age Home Members would like to communicate to their supporters runs like this:
"We are elderly people who want to live the rest of our lives in a peaceful way. We would like to prepare ourselves for the last journey in this lifetime. We are blessed to be able to live here and to be cared for in this beautiful and peaceful environment together with the children. We are grateful to be here and we would like to thank all the people who support and think of us. Thank you".
Seeing the plight of an ever increasing number of elders without family or anything else to fall back on, an old-age home and 2 sick-ward rooms for a max. of 20 elderly persons could be constructed with the help of Italian sponsors. They are provided with shelter, food, medical care and other necessities of life. The Aum Pranava Ashram Old-Age Home was started in June 2003, when the founders decided to take up 2 abandoned old men from the streets into the ashram's fold and care. They had been working together in a canteen for nearly 30 years. The canteen was closed and neither of them had a place to stay.
Until the recent past, people used to live together in joint families which provided social security to all the family members. Our ashram could actually be called a very extended joint family where all the members live together and know about each other.
From our point of view, the greatest advantage for elders living together with children/young people is being continuously challenged to take part in other people's lives, to show and receive love, as well as challenged by noises and sights, thus protecting them from isolation, desolation and associated defunctive brain.