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Towards inclusion

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The need to integrate care to living solutions and create an inclusive society that will address the needs of silvers, including those with special children, was the focus of Trends and Challenges in Elder Care’, a seminar held in Bengaluru on 29 August. The event was sponsored by CovaiCare and Mantri Primus. Silver Talkies was the knowledge partner and Harmony-Celebrate Age the media partner for the event, which was also supported by Parkside by Brigade, and Pressalit Care, Denmark.

Care and Ageing, a book on ageing and care, was launched by chief guest, Rotarian Suresh Hari, district governor of RI District 3190, who informed the audience about various initiatives of Rotary and his district’s commitment to the cause of care. Speaking of the need to integrate care to living, Col Achal Sridharan (VSM), managing director of CovaiCare, laid stress on the need to build a care-inclusive living model, pointing out that, with increased longevity, people now spend a third of their life after retirement; while Adarsh Narahari, managing director of Mantri Primus, spoke about perceptions and realities in elder care. Meanwhile, K Ganesh, chairman of Portea, spoke on the rise of elder care as an industry and the various investment opportunities in this sunrise sector, calling the surging silver population both a challenge and opportunity for policymakers.

The first panel discussion, carrying on the theme of integrating care to living, was moderated by Nidhi Chawla of Silver Talkies, and featured leading professionals sharing their insights on multiple forms of care. Dr Radha S Murthy of Nightingales Home Health Services spoke on memory care and dementia; Dr Nagesh Simha from Karunashraya spoke on palliative care; Rajagopal G, founder and CEO of KITES, spoke on assisted living and preventive care; Dr Anitha Arokiasamy spoke on home healthcare; and Sridhar Aravamudhan from the Behavioral Momentum Institute spoke on care for elders with special children.

Following the lunch break, an award-winning short film, A Shared Cup of Coffee, shed light in a poignant manner on loneliness, one of the biggest problems plaguing silvers today. This was followed by a talk by Vineet Verma of Brigade Hospitality, who recommended building a world outside one’s professional identity and engaging in social activities.

Next, Ayush Agarwal of addressed how one can make a qualitative change to the day-to-day lives of silvers, introducing the audience to products such as dry shampoo, a nail-cutter with magnifying glass, anti-slip solutions for bathrooms and senior-friendly mobiles. Meanwhile, advocate Shivkumar proposed the need for a legal framework that recognises the inherent needs of silvers and gives them priority. “Ideally, the law should be taken to their doorstep,” he said.

“With the silver care space becoming vibrant of late, the sunset years have transformed into sunrise years,” said Arati Rajan Menon, executive editor, Harmony-Celebrate Age, who moderated the final session on creating an inclusive world for silvers. As part of the session, Ali Khwaja of Banjara Academy advocated looking at disabilities differently. “All of us are disabled at some level,” he said. “Not knowing how to drive or the inability to speak a language can also be construed as a disability.”

Echoing the sentiment was Vidhya Ramasubban of Kickstart Cabs, who spoke about mobility solutions for the physically challenged and called for the need for a perspective shift on disability. “Disability should be part of the development agenda and should be viewed as a society’s problem, rather than that of an individual,” she asserted. And while Puneet Gupta of SAP Labs spoke about his company’s mission to touch a billion lives through technology, Swapna Kishore, a resource person for dementia caregivers, discussed the complexities of caregiving and dwelt on the need to creating a supportive environment for those suffering from dementia.

Striking a deep chord with the audience was Hariharan Kanna, who shared the life-affirming journey of his differently abled daughter Karishma (present in the audience), who has given back to society through the sale of her paintings. Karishma received rousing applause from the audience—a beautiful moment in an event replete with insights and inspiration.

If you’d like a copy of Care and Ageing, which was released at the event, contact P S Srikumar, CEO, CovaiCare at

Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine
October 2018