Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, homes for the elderly in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, are increasingly receiving inquiries for availability. A report in news agency ANI says that the inquiries began rising after the lockdown.
Owners of the old age homes say that a key reason why families are looking for homes for their older family members is that they are afraid of the fact that the elderly are susceptible to the infection.
"Our old age home has been getting a number of inquiries and each day we get a lot of phone calls. When I asked some of them, they said they have small children at home and since the elderly people can get infected easily, so sending them to an old age home can help protect other members of the family," owner of an old age home told news agency ANI.
"There have been more inquiries about vacancies in our home. We are full and can not take in more people. Many people have lost their jobs or are facing financial crisis and this has led to an increase in the number of inquiries," said another owner of a senior citizens' facility, Suketu Nagarwadia.
Gujarat: Managers of old age homes in Ahmedabad say more people are contacting them amid #COVID19. CEO of an old age home says, "Many people think that old people can get infected easily, so if they send them to old age homes other family members will remain safe." (13.07.2020) pic.twitter.com/b6Oqf1W5Ge— ANI (@ANI) July 13, 2020
Old age home owners claim that maintaining social distance is also another issue with families.
"Some families live in small houses where it is difficult to maintain social distance. It is a problem for them. As a result we have had many people contacting us for rooms but we had to decline as we have full occupancy and cannot take in more people," Nagarwadia said.
With incomes shrinking due the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, old age homes are already facing a huge crisis. Several old age homes had to trim their budgets for essentials like ration and medicines. Some of them are afraid that they might have to resort to a closure if the situation worsens.
"Old age homes, especially the smaller and mid-sized ones, have traditionally depended on donations from local philanthropic individuals and business communities. With the lockdown and economic recession, the same has totally dried up," HelpAge India CEO Mathew Cherian told news agency Press Trust of India.