Everyone remembers him as the man who describes old age as being about re-wiring and not retiring. These are words Sailesh Mishra truly believes in.
He has been running the NGO Silver Innings for the last six years from Mira Road, Mumbai. But after appearing on the show, he has found newer ways to take the issue forward. Mishra started a consultancy on old age homes, which he calls a ‘senior living consultancy’. Part of this consultancy are architects, gerontologists, social media professionals and activists, who offer advice on how to set up old age homes—how to build them, how to market them, what kinds of care to provide, etc. In May 2013 he also started Silver Innings Matrimonial and Companionship, a dedicated marriage bureau for elders.
In August 2013, Mishra inaugurated the A1 Snehanjali Assisted Living Elder Care Home. A social enterprise by Silver Innings, it is not your typical old age home. “I don’t like the idea of an old age home—one that isolates people and creates an unnatural environment,” says Mishra. “There is a section of society consisting of people who want to take care of their parents but cannot because they are not trained in caregiving or work in other cities. A1 is for the parents of these people.”
The home, which can house 13 residents, has five at the moment, all of whom are Alzheimer’s patients—a conscious decision by Mishra. “We wanted to take Alzheimer’s and dementia patients because, including us, there are only 10 homes for them all over India. Three per cent of elders in India are suffering from Alzheimer’s—a total of 36 lakh in India— and 30,000 in Mumbai alone. But no old age home or hospital will accept them.”
The NGO has other innovative plans in the offing. It plans to launch an online portal with information needed by elders or caregivers. This includes information about old age homes, NGOs, the police, caregivers, day-care centres, helplines, tiffinwallahs and even marriage bureaus.
“It is important to reach out to the young,” Mishra says enthusiastically. “Although elders might not access this site directly, the youth is tech-savvy and will use their smart phones or the Internet to search for this information.” Soon, caregiving will be just a click away.