I was born and brought up in Trivandrum, Kerala. After completing my graduation, I took up a job and worked for a couple of years there. I came to Bangalore and started working in a reputed corporation. The charm of the city was too tempting for me to move anywhere else. I therefore settled here with my family, however my parents continue to stay back in the native. My parents, like many of our parents, are quite independent and live a highly principled life helping everyone in need. My sister and I have grown up with these core values instilled in us.
With my ageing parents staying away from me, it was getting challenging to be at their disposal for immediate help when they were physically or emotionally weak. Although some of my relatives helped them, yet that never could be a permanent solution.This led me to look for a service that could take care of such situations. But sadly, there was not much available for geriatric care. That’s when I realized that I had to begin a venture that would cater to the care of not only my parents but many others too. With the rise in the number of nuclear families, there was a clear gap where geriatric care was concerned.
My Strength, My Parents
With my daughters - My Pride and Joy
With 20 years of experience in a comfortable job, starting a venture wasn’t quite easy. I faced a lot of criticism for taking this step but nothing would deter me from changing my mind. When you are set on an uncertain path inspite of discouragement, you will find people, like minded too. One such person is our co-founder,Vandana, who could relate to my vision and share my passion towards geriatric care. Together, we thus started ElderAid, with a vision to bring geriatric care to mainstream focus. Today when we talk about geriatric care, many of us associate it with hospital and sickness, whereas there are quite a lot of elders who can still be productive and add value to the society in many ways.
We, at ElderAid, want to be the single point of contact for the families and want to promote the importance of mental and physical wellness and well-being among elders and its positive impact on their health in a long term. Culture mindset is our biggest hurdle. Most people expect ElderAid to be a free service given the noble cause, whereas ElderAid is a 'for profit’ social enterprise. Other biggest road block is that people look at geriatric care more as a reactionary service than being proactive about it, which ensures better quality of life for the elders.
There is hardly any work done for the senior citizens through CSR activities. Advocacy for this sector is quite important as most of the organisations come under the 18% GST for the service rendered. In my opinion, people and corporates need to look beyond their current set of sectors that they work with under CSR scheme, there are lot of sectors that need awareness and acceptance from the society. From a corporate point of view, lot of measures can be taken to promote healthy living, importance of being active, mental health through their CSR activities, which will help their own employees and productivity.
The team that eats together, stays together - The ElderAid Team
I thus foresee a bright future ahead for ElderAid. Our intent is to take it to as many families as we can so that they can enjoy the benefits of the services we offer. We have many satisfied customers who are happy with our venture and when I hear their stories I feel all the hard work that has gone in building up ElderAid, has paid off. At the end of the day, that satisfaction is what gives me a high.
In the journey of entrepreneurship, you really have to just focus on making your dream into reality and to achieve this, one has to be always self motivated. Highs and lows are part of the dream and they keep you grounded too. That’s what success means to me – leaving behind a legacy, to touch lives in a positive manner, to be able to influence someone’s life and change it for the better and work productively for the society.