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Saturday, June 27, 2015

The elderly have special needs, and an industry is born

Sruthin Lal, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Rohit Arora works in Delhi, but his ailing mother was alone in Kolkata, and he used to feel helpless about it. When he managed to get a health worker, Rajesh (name changed), to look after her, it was a great relief for him. “He visited every week, looked after her health, talked to her, took her to the doctors. Later on they developed sort of psychological bonding. She was so happy,” he says. Arora’s mother passed away recently.



MP Pai and his wife in Bangalore looked forward to the daily visit of their nurse, Nitya. For them, it was not just about medical care, but about social bonding and a daily dose of advice. Both their sons are settled in the US, and “having her come home and check on us has made a huge difference in our lives,” Pai says.
Rajesh and Nitya are symbols of healthcare care focussed on the elderly, still an emerging industry in India valued at about $7 billion (R43,000 crore), of which home-based care is estimated at between $2 and $3 billion (R12,800 and R24,600 crore).
Compared to about $290 billion that is spent on eldercare in the US, this is miniscule. However, with income levels rising and young professionals no longer able to care for their parents willing to dip into their wallets, companies such as Portea, TriBeCa Care, Medwell, and HealthCareAtHome are sniffing a business opportunity with high growth potential.
As per Census 2011, India has 103.2 million ‘60-plus’ people – next only to China – constituting around 8.6% of the population. Given the increasing longevity and high population growth, it is expected to reach 300 million by 2050 – a fact that is not lost on the industry.
“Currently, the private healthcare sector, especially corporate hospitals, perceives older persons as a non-profitable segment. They are not tapping into the potential that elder care services offer,” feels AB Dey, head of department, geriatric medicine at AIIMS.
“The market is small compared to the US, which is worth billions,” says Tamojit Dutta, Co-CEO of TriBeCa Care. “The reasons are, one, that there are not enough companies in this segment right now and, two, now the segment is dominated by informal sector and government-based services.”
The elderly have different healthcare requirements. They generally suffer from multiple and chronic diseases and need long-term and constant care, according to the National Programme for Health Care for the Elderly (NPHCE) report. But medication is not their only need – the elderly need emotional support, counselling and often, legal support.
“Along with medical needs, we also address their non-medical needs,” says Meena Ganesh, CEO of Portea Health care.
The companies, apart from giving medical and nursing services, offer legal support, help in day-to-day activities such as shopping and paying bills, and going outdoors. Some also offer products such as wheelchairs, beds and walking assistants that can be purchased online.
So far, cities are the focus of such companies. The last two NSSO (National Sample Survey Organisation) sample surveys on the elderly have shown that the numbers of urban elderly who report poor health has increased, and among these, women are more vulnerable. In many cases, senior citizens live alone as their children work away from the home, or owing to family disputes (Agewell Foundation survey in 2010).
“Our clients include children living within and outside India, and at times in the same city as their parents. Sometimes the (aged) parents themselves ask for our services,” says Gaurav Thukral, vice-president, HealthCare at Home India, a joint venture of the Burman family of the Dabur brand, and UK-based HealthCare at Home.
Portea, which was established in 2013, is present in 22 Indian cities and is looking to get to 50 within the next two years. HealthCare at Home is present in four cities. Both companies, with their focus on expansion, are yet to break-even. TriBeCa care, founded in 2013, is expanding to the national capital region from Calcutta, where it is just breaking even, according to co-founder and CEO Tamojit Dutta.
“The biggest challenge I see for the sector is not strategy, but finding the right staff -- sensitive people with the right skills,” he says.
Such healthcare companies employ people below the level of doctors, such as attendants and nurses. They either hire experienced staff, or recruit and train people on their own.
In India, there is in fact a dearth of doctors specialising in eldercare. Even nearly half of the miniscule trained manpower migrates to other countries, as opportunities are better there, says the NPHCE report.
Leveraging technology, all these companies have a centralised database, and the care-seekers and their relatives can access their records from anywhere in the world.
For the modern-day professionals who have little time even for themselves, the fledgling industry is a boon.
“Given the current social situation I see it as a great service and a good business opportunity,” says Satindra Sen, a former banker and a businessman in Delhi, who uses the services of a company for his 84-year-old-mother, a dementia patient who lives alone in Calcutta.




Silver Innings a Social Enterprise Group started by Gerontology Expert Sailesh Mishra, since 2008 offers various need base services in Mumbai to Senior Citizens, including Home Care Service, Counselling, Assisted Living Elder Care Home 'A1 SNEHANJALI', Dementia and Alzheimer's care, Training etc...
http://www.silverinnings.com/  



Thursday, June 25, 2015

'Ageing is not the problem. Our failure to adapt is'

Putting the care of our elderly in private hands is a touchy subject. But Paul Hogan believes that the State alone can’t cope with a demographic timebomb, he tells Paul O’Donoghue.

Caring for an elderly grandmother inspired Paul Hogan’s business idea


Although many social campaigners would argue that everyone should be well cared for by the State in old age, the founder of Home Instead Senior Care (HISC) takes a more pragmatic view.
"I don't think that there is anything wrong with the ideology that people shouldn't be left behind, but ideology has to catch up to reality."
He points out the ageing population in many countries, with Ireland being a prime example. Barely a week goes by without some variation of the so-called elderly "financial timebomb" story: the estimated spiralling cost of caring for our ever-increasing number of elderly citizens.
A forecast from the Central Statistics Office in 2013 estimated that over the next three decades the number of over-65s could almost triple to 1.4 million.
By 2046 there could be up to 560,000 more older people than under-14s compared to 2011 when there 976,600 young people compared to 531,600 older. This phenomenon is not unique to Ireland: Western populations are aging as workers who retire are living longer and an ever-shrinking pool of younger workers is coming through to replace them.
"Government can't possibly keep up with the need. There's just not enough social funding," said Hogan. "But it has opened up huge opportunities for the private sector. We need to adapt. Ageing is not the problem, our failure to adapt is the problem."
His answer was HISC, a multinational network of franchises that provides non-medical in home care for the elderly with the aim of letting them live at home for as long as possible. After starting in the US a little over 20 years ago, HISC has built up a worldwide network with more than 1,000 franchise outlets.
In Ireland the firm employs about 300 full-time staff across more than 20 outlets. It also has about 3,500 employees who work an average of 15 hours a week and is now celebrating its tenth year on our shores.
As he touts HISC as a practical solution to a practical problem, the natural assumption would be that Paul would have started the chain after seeing a gap in the market and seizing on it. However, he said that the genesis of the company came about when his family had to care for his 88-year-old grandmother.
"She was living down the street and started getting so weak that she couldn't get out of her own chair any more. She was in a state where she looked like she was very near the end," he said.
"My mom and her siblings got together and decided on two things: one, that there would be no nursing home. It was sort of a promise, that you raised us in a home, we're gonna make it possible for you to age in yours. The second thing we decided was that my mom would bring her home and we would all chip in and keep her comfortable at home."
He said that when she moved into their home, the family thought that she might live for another year or so.
A decade later and she was still in the house.
"That one year turned into 11 years. She regained her strength [and] her independence. We saw first hand that you didn't have to be a doctor or a nurse to have a huge impact on someone's health," he says. "We saw it first hand that it worked: she got a whole other decade of life and regained her will to live. So we set out to do for others what my family did for my grandmother." Paul and his wife Lori started HISC several years later from their home in Nebraska.
Paul had already worked at a Merry Maids residential cleaning outlet; a subsidiary of one of the world's largest service networks the ServiceMaster Company, and so had some previous franchising experience. After first proving that the business was viable with a location in Omaha, the couple then awarded Lori's uncle the first franchise licence for the business one year later.
"I also had two of my college roommates who were very interested in the business and several Merry Maids franchise owners approached me. The business concept and the idea of serving senior citizens attracted attention sort of organically, [so] we expanded a bit more through a handful of those people and then it went on from there and inquiries started coming in from all across the country," Hogan said.
The franchise now has well over 500 locations in the US alone, has a presence in 16 countries and generates almost $1bn in revenue. Hogan said that one of the key differences between the Irish and US markets is the fact that it is possible to claim tax relief on the cost of employing a carer, up to a maximum amount of €75,000 which he says makes the service more affordable.
"We don't have that in the US. I'd like to see it in the US to provide some release for families who are paying for this type of care because we know from our research that better care at home leads to lower medical expenses," he said.
In regards to international measures that could benefit Ireland, Paul said the Government should look at introducing measures that would allow seniors to decide for themselves how best to spend necessary funds.
"Australia has implemented a programme where the government doesn't tell seniors what they need, they give them resources to spend on their own care and they decide how to spend it," he said.
"Sometimes the family needs the funds for medication, sometimes for homecare and they can choose which measure best fits them. There is not that degree of choice in Ireland."
The issue of cost is one that comes up frequently when discussing home care for elderly people. Earlier this week the charity Alone, which provides services for older people in need, said that over one third of older people in long-term nursing homes have low or medium dependency needs, saying that funding for home help has been cut by €1.6m since 2011.
However, Paul is convinced that State funding is not the answer despite saying that an average customer of HISC would spend "about €1,400-€1,800 a month".
When it is put to him that the cost could be a barrier to some senior citizens, he conceded: "Sure, this is a stretch for many seniors, but for many of our clients it is the family working together to make this happen.
"Sometimes we have a senior who can afford to pay for it themselves and sometimes there is a family member who says that they will pay for it.
"Maybe a couple of family members will pool their money to get enough care for some respite [because] we don't replace the family, we supplement the family."
Despite the cost Paul is convinced that private care for the elderly is a viable part of the solution to aging populations. So much so that he plans on availing of it himself.
When asked if he will use senior home care when he hits old age he leans forward with a grin and asks "Why do you think I started the company?
"Home is where it's at. We cannot underestimate the value of familiar surroundings. I may not be able to remember that I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich today, but I know where I can find the bread. That's the value of familiar surroundings."

Indo Business

Source: http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/ageing-is-not-the-problem-our-failure-to-adapt-is-31326908.html 

Top 10 Cars For Senior Citizens

One of the most undermined consumer groups in automotive world is that of senior citizens. It is one of the most empowered groups with great investment potential. Their needs are specific and so will be the models categorized for them. We bring you a list of top 10 cars for senior citizens that can fulfill their needs and offer right kind of support they deserve.
Hyundai Sonata – One of the best car options for senior citizens, it is pleasant to pockets, spacious, comfortable, and with relatively simpler controls. Equipped with a 2.4-litre engine it delivers a fuel economy of 29mpg. Its’ pricing starts from $22, 000. View more hyundai cars.
Hyundai Sonata
Hyundai Sonata
Volvo S80 – In case, your grandparents have a taste for some extra style and charm, Volvo S80 is the perfect option that will even fit their bills. The Swedish car has earned high scores for its safety features and comes with a bundle of hi-tech assets. View more volvo cars.
Volvo S80
Volvo S80
Subaru Forester – In case the elder members of your family are adventurous or like to travel with complete family, than this is the car for them. Subaru Forester is one of the best cars for old drivers owing to its reliability, safety features, affordability, and large cargo space.
Subaru Forester
Subaru Forester
Honda Fit – A little hatchback with large cargo space, outstanding performance, and inspiring fuel economy. It mileage figure stands at 33mpg and is also available with 6-speed manual transmission. View more honda cars.
Honda Fit
Honda Fit
Chevrolet Impala – A classic cruiser, it is the best car for those senior citizens who love to reminisce about their large boats and vehicles. the sedan proudly offers large cabin with a cavernous trunk and a 2.5-litre and 3.6-litre V6 power mill.
Chevrolet Impala
Chevrolet Impala
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid – A quintessentially senior brand, this one offers a bunch of refined features, well-tuned engines, and top notch safety. Mileage stands at 40mpg for its hybrid version.
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Volkswagen Passat TDI – A remarkable option, it secures its position in top 10 cars for senior citizens list for being one of the best alternative fuel options. Apart from a superb power train it offers a super-impressive mileage figure of 34mpg. View more volkswagen cars.
Volkswagen Passat TDI
Volkswagen Passat TDI
Chrysler 300- The traditional American car, it is embedded with a V6 engine that offers 292hp along with a fuel economy of 23mpg.
Chrysler 300
Chrysler 300
Lexus RX 350 – A pretty good option for well-heeled seniors, it offers a serene on-road experience with bulletproof reliability.
Lexus RX 350
Lexus RX 350
Mazda5 – An interesting option, its basically a minivan with roomy interiors. It powered by a 2.5-litre engine and offers a mileage figure of 28mpg over freeways. 
Mazda5
Mazda5

Courtesy: http://www.cartrade.com/blog/2015/top-10/top-10-cars-for-senior-citizens-1447.html 

The Promise of Prometheus – Golden Aging in Europe and Central Asia

In Greek mythology, the “Golden Age” referred to an idyllic period of peace and stability when people lived long, healthy, active, and prosperous lives. Prometheus, the Titan god of forethought, is said to have promised, “A new Golden Age shall come, brighter and better by far than the old!”



In this ancient fable, stable populations and long lives were central elements of flourishing societies free of disease and poverty.

Nowadays, stagnant populations and aging societies are often seen as a challenge or threat, rather than an opportunity – but the current aging of societies in Europe could bring citizens closer than many expect to the ideal described in mythology.

Aging Societies

The average age of the population in Europe and Central Asia today is 37 years old – eight years older than the average age six decades ago. This development is most advanced in the western part of the region, but the relatively young populations in Turkey and in Central Asia are expected to quickly follow this demographic trend.

The main reason behind population aging in the region is not that people are living longer, but that they are having fewer children. Since the 1970s, fertility rates have declined dramatically. Outward migration of young people is also playing a role in shaping the population structure in several countries.

The potential impacts of aging societies are often cause for apprehension. Working individuals, for example, are concerned about bearing the burden of financing health and pension systems that will have to support more elderly people.

Such concerns are warranted – and governments are tasked with helping to address them in a socially responsible and fiscally prudent way. The task is immense and challenging, but not impossible. Indeed, aging societies present opportunities to implement important socioeconomic reforms that can ultimately help foster a more active, healthy, and productive society.

A New Golden Age

Policies can help stabilize the demographic structure, enhancing the opportunities and mitigating the negative socioeconomic consequences of aging populations. The most immediate priorities for governments are to enable longer and more productive working lives, ensure fiscal sustainability, and prevent aging from leading to an increase in old-age poverty. But individuals, businesses and governments all have a role to play.

According to legend, Prometheus was always looking to the future and preparing for what might happen tomorrow, next year, or in a hundred years. To fully prepare for the new demographic reality and to seize the potential opportunities, policymakers across Europe and Central Asia would do well to follow his example. Perhaps then, all citizens can look forward one day to their Golden Age of aging.




Courtesy: World Bank Report 2015

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The old man on the bus : The Metrognome


To stop elder abuse, we must stop indulging in it. A new column starts today, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
by Vrushali Lad | editor@themetrognome.in
Ae buddhhe, hatt na!” Everyone in the bus line turned to stare at the youth on the cycle, trying to get past an old man shuffling slowly to the front entrance of the bus. The man didn’t even hear the boy, intent as he was on catching the bus before it sped off. Or probably he had heard it a million times before – in our country, it is customary to address old people we don’t know as ‘buddhhas‘ or ‘buddhhis‘ – we also use these terms to address old people we don’t particularly like. Whatever the language, we find an equivalent term for ‘buddhha’ and use it with impunity.
This is where the rest of a bigger problem stems from. The derision we have for ‘oldies’ in society translates into everyday actions we don’t even think about before committing. We get impatient with senior citizens taking their time getting into the bus. We snort with ill-disguised contempt when the cashier at the supermarket has to repeat himself twice, loudly, to the old woman shopper who clearly has lost a lot of her hearing. We do not deign to explain ‘complex’ issues to our grandparents or old parents because ‘they will not understand anyway’. We feel ill-used when we have to give away a portion of our salaries every month to fund our retired parents’ homes.
In short, these old people give us several causes for complaint. Like that old man on the bus – whose big crime was that his old age had rendered him slow and incapable of quick movement.
I’m not even going to take the oft-repeated ‘Our parents did so much for us, we should repay them in their old age’ route, because it is so simplistic, it irritates me. It is also not about doing good for our elders because of the fear of karma – society tries to shame us when we behave badly towards our parents and elders with the caution, ‘Don’t forget, you are going to get old, too…’ At a broader level, the issue is not about whether we should behave ourselves in order to have a good old age for ourselves, or whether we should be grateful enough to be nice to our parents who did everything for us when we were little. It is simply about being considerate and kind.
Old age brings with it a million daily traumas – both physical and spiritual – but the most scarring one surely has to be the one that reminds the person every day, “You are useless…you can no longer work and contribute to the family, your ideas are outdated, you need to sit in a corner and think about the afterlife, your life is over…” I can’t think of another humiliation worse than being relegated to the ‘back benches’ at home – because you no longer earn a salary, you are no longer an important component in the family’s scheme of things. Your opinions are considered out of sync with the times, you are often talked at by your own children and grandchildren, and the physical problems you face – loss of hearing, loss of memory, loss of mobility – are often the subjects of many jokes in the family and neighbourhood.
And yet we take a moral high ground when we hear stories of other senior citizens being beaten or tortured in their homes, at the hands of their family members. We outrage on hearing accounts of an aged couple being disowned by their children because the parents refused to part with their property while they were still alive. We ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ photographs of abandoned senior citizens and comment on the pictures saying, ‘If you can’t take care of your parents, you should just die at birth’ or ‘How can society not have a conscience, yaar? Are we made of stone?’
And then most of us forget to call our mothers once a day, just to remind them they are in our thoughts and that we are safe (which is what they’re always worried about). We take our parents to the restaurant around the corner (where we often go) on their anniversary ‘to celebrate’ because we were too busy to plan a grand celebration. We cut their calls during a busy day and forget to call back. We yell at them to not disturb us when we are working or hanging out with friends. We forget to tell them important things in our lives. We ‘forget’ to pay their bills, knowing fully well they are too embarassed to remind us. Or we assume that they wouldn’t like to try out a new health club that we enrolled our kids and spouse in, because senior citizens are ‘too old’ to exercise or swim. Or when, in their brain-addled state, they shout at us and we shout back, instead of biting our tongue because they are not in their senses and they don’t mean to shout.
We are curt, impolite, rude and inconsiderate in a million different ways every day, all because we know somewhere in our hearts that ‘Whatever happens, my parents will always forgive me…’ I am guilty of all of these behaviours, unthinkingly and selfishly, and so are you. But it’s never too late. Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and we can start setting things right.
When we say ‘abuse’, it brings to mind images of beatings and verbal lashings – and many senior citizens undergo these on a daily basis around the world. But what about the silent abuse we mete out to our elders every day?
Abuse takes form in several ways, and it always starts with the small things. Let’s give our elders the respect and dignity that we expect the world to show us, and many things will begin to fall into place one by one. There’s no need for grand gestures – though those would be nice, too. I think it helps if we just keep in touch. Talk to them and listen. Laugh at the stories they tell even though you’ve heard them since childhood. If you believe in karma and all that jazz, may be your children will treat you well in your old age. At the very least, you’ll spend some really great times with an elder you know – and I find that they do have some really awesome stories to tell.
‘Grey Space’ is a weekly column on senior citizen issues. If you have an anecdote, or legal information, or anything you feel is useful to senior citizens, caregivers and the society at large, feel free to get it published in this space. Write to editor@themetrognome.in or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Themetrognome.in and we will publish your account.
(Picture courtesy udaipurtimes.comwww.tapovan.org.in. Images are used for representational purpose only)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

"Peeche ka Kamra" - A Poem by Anshuman Bhagwat - WEAAD2015

  1. Published on Jun 15, 2015

  1. This  Video is created by Silver Inning Foundation, an NGO working with Senior Citizens since 2008, on Occasion of the 10th Anniversary of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on 15th June 2015, in association with 'International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) to sensitize all stake holders and to work towards creating a Generation Friendly World.

    This poem is about a man who is doing everything he possibly can to improve his present and future but dismisses his old parents to the background because they could not keep up with his modern updated life style. But he is unaware to the fact that his own children are learning from him and in his old age he will be exiled to the same old back rooms that he dismissed his parents to.

    We would like to Thank the following for their invaluable contribution to make this happen :
    Anshuman Bhagwat - Poet
    Darrpan Mehta - Narration
    Hira Mehta - English Subtitles
    Ramaa Subramaniam - Coordination
    Sugar Mediaz - Audio Video Production

    Our Partners - INPEA, Silver Innings Helpline, A1 Snehajali, PushpaMa Foundation and The Metrognome
    Jeroninio Almeida and iCONGO for support
    All our Elders and their Families for their support for making this video.

    Old age is a beautiful stage in every person's life and an undeniable truth of life too.In old age physical strengths reduce but mind and heart are brimming with hopes and aspirations. But at this stage if the elderly are relegated to the back rooms their remaining life becomes hell.

    But young ones who do this to their old parents should remember this, that one day their own children who are observing the treatment meted out to their grand parents may think that this is the way it should be and do the same to their parents in their old age and dismiss you to the back room of their homes and lives.
    So if you want to make your future better, give your old parents respect and comfort in their old age.

    #‎WEAAD‬ is marked each year on June 15 as an official ‪#‎UnitedNations‬ International Day acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. Since 2006, communities throughout the country and around the world have used this day to raise the visibility of elder abuse, by sharing information about abuse and neglect and promoting resources and services that can help increase seniors’ safety and well-being.

    ‪#‎INPEA‬, Elder Abuse Awareness networks and organizations across globe are planning multiple WEAAD activities across the countries to mobilize community action and engage people in discussions on how to promote dignity and respect of older adults. The key objective of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is to raise awareness of elder abuse (which encompasses neglect or mistreatment) throughout the world.
    #WEAAD2015 #EldersMatter #INPEA #SilverInnings #SeniorCitizens #ElderAbuse #WearPurple #Ageing #Aging #Gerontology #Geriatric #Poem #World #UN

    Disclaimer : The images used are for representation only.
    Photos & Video Copyright - © Silver Innings 2015

Saturday, June 13, 2015

An innings to remember


Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine April 2015: 
http://www.harmonyindia.org/hportal/VirtualPageView.jsp?page_id=24789


It was an unusual cricket match, between a young team captained by a 16 year-old, pitted against a silver team captained by a 60 year-old. Appropriately, it was called 16 vs. 60.

The youngsters were very confident. This should be easy, they thought. After all, they were competing against silvers! The elders, on the other hand, were a tad uneasy. Stepping onto the field to clash with youngsters made the cricket team of Dada Dadi Park in Mumbai's Borivali, very nervous. But what the silvers lacked in energy, they made up for in experience, daily practice and determination. Their strategy in any game, as team member Jimmy Dordi reveals, is simple: to win.

And long before the match was over, the silvers were indeed winning. "They were overconfident, I think," says captain Bhaskar Joshi about the young team. "Towards the end of their innings, they became careless and we grew even more alert."

The silvers were "super-amazing", confesses Pritesh, the 27 year-old manager of Silver Innings FC, the football club of the Mira Road-based Silver Innings Foundation that had organised the match. "They were not prepared to lose a single wicket and won by seven wickets with three overs to go," he adds.

Although the competitive element turned the event into an edge-of-the-seat thriller, the real aim of the event was to facilitate the NGO's goal to bring about an elder-friendly society. Silver Innings FC is a football club started by the NGO in 2013. In the short time it has been a part of the Mumbai Football League, it has earned a reputation for being the only club that has qualified for the second division straight after the first season.

"It seems silvers think the youth are not very respectful," observes Sailesh Mishra, founder of the Silver Innings Foundation. Believing this perception can be altered only by changing the attitude of the youth, he uses sports as a means to achieve the change.

The cricket team of Dada Dadi Park
with the Silver Innings FC
The players, aged between 15 and 27, go through a unique selection process that tests their temperament to make sure their sensibilities match the club's cause. They often involve themselves in intergenerational activities like the 16 vs. 60 cricket match. At league matches, they wear jerseys with the message, 'Stop Elder Abuse'. The jerseys are distributed by silvers associated with the foundation. There is a sense of ownership and belonging created among the silvers, and the players in turn sense that they have a certain responsibility when they step onto the football field. As Pritesh proudly proclaims, "Silver Innings FC is the only club in the world that stands for silvers."

Mishra says, "Through sports, we can do anything," adding that he wants to use sports to bring about a silver revolution. But what is a silver revolution without the participation of silvers themselves? So, while in one part of Mumbai, Mishra sensitises youth to the needs of silvers, in another part of the city there's a group of elders rediscovering long-lost passions. Members of Dada Dadi Park in Borivali meet for a couple of hours every morning and evening to indulge in all the activities they were too busy for during their working lives. "The senior citizens of Borivali have greatly benefited from this organisation," says 67 year-old Bhaskar Joshi. "From chess and carom to music, computer classes, cricket and tennis, everyone has their pick."

Funded by the Pushpa 'Maa' Foundation, there are now three Dada Dadi Park units in Borivali, covering 5,000-odd silver members. A lifetime membership fee of  102 ( 100 for a magnetic identification card and  2 as admission fee) is all it takes to sign up.

Musical evenings, birthday celebrations, national and religious celebrations, IQ competitions and sports tournaments are just some of the special activities and occasions the silver members organise throughout the year. And they are an ambitious lot. Says 76 year-old Jimmy Dordi, a member of the Managing Committee of Dada Dadi Park, "We have two Limca records to our credit—a laughter record with the largest number of senior citizens, and the record for the maximum number of senior citizens singing the National Anthem in one spot."

It was Dordi, who is closely associated with Sailesh Mishra, who proposed the 16 vs. 60 match. "Our members were very enthusiastic but also a little hesitant. This was going to be the first time we were playing against young sportsmen," Dordi confesses.

So they practised every day and they practised hard. The rest, as they say, is history. But that's not where they stop. Having tasted first blood, the silvers are on the lookout for more teams to test their skills. "Even if we fail, that will not stop us," says a determined Dordi.

Indeed, the match was insightful for players of both teams. The young members of Silver Innings FC learnt a valuable lesson in their training towards becoming discerning citizens: not to underestimate age, which is a deadly combination of experience, stubbornness and humility. And the old-timers learnt to have more confidence in their abilities.

There will be a rematch between the Silver Innings FC and the cricket team of Dada Dadi Park this month. This time, they will walk onto the field as equals, each bringing their A-game, now more educated about the other's strengths and weaknesses. Game on!
Natasha Rego

Photographs courtesy Silver Innings


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