Self-sufficient homes for the aged
Baruipur: A complex that promises people over 55 homes with attendants, entertainment and sport options has come up on the city's southern outskirts.
Aumorto in Baruipur, nearly 40km from the city, is not a new concept: other cities started offering such facilities to the elderly several years ago.
But Aumorto underscores the demand for such a facility in a city where children are forced to migrate elsewhere in search of livelihood leaving behind aged parents.
The apartments on the 7-acre campus will be thrown open on May 1 after the official inauguration on Thursday.
More than 25 per cent of the 40 apartments have been booked and the authorities claim of being swamped with queries every day from people in Calcutta and the districts.
Not every one wants to live here because their children have moved elsewhere. There are other draws: the company of people of similar age and background, no need to worry about trifle matters such as plumbing or security guard.
In the first phase, Aumorto, set up by the Aurobindo Institute of Culture, will offer 40 air-conditioned apartments of four categories, small medium, large and extra large.
The institute follows the ideology of Mother and Sri Aurobindo.
"My wife and I wished to live in a comfortable place where we can get all the amenities needed at our age in an ashram-like environment... and we don't have to run the home," Subrata Chakraborty of Bansdroni said. "When we visited Aumorto we realised everything we wanted would be available. So, we made up our minds and booked an apartment."
The retired doctor, aged above 80, and his 76-year-old wife will start living at Aumorto from May 2. Chakraborty has gone for an extra large apartment.
Bodhibrata Nag, 57, a teacher at IIM Calcutta, said he found "some unique facilities" at Aumorto. "I still have eight years to retirement. But I have booked an apartment for my 81-year old mother and myself ," Nag said.
"The ambience here is totally different. I liked it more because of the scope of meditation it offers. We will start staying here soon. But we will shuttle between our Joka home and Aumorto for some more years."
Calcutta has several "old age" homes but few " premium retirement communities" like Aumorto, a social welfare department official said.
Unlike the previous generation, many of the elderly now have money at their disposal and look for hassle-free living.
There are dedicated zones for various activities so that residents can engage themselves in whichever way they feel like.
All apartments are fully furnished and have cable and Wi-Fi connections.
There is a library with modern furniture designed for the elderly persons that boasts of 4,000-odd books, a well-decorated dining hall and a dedicated meditation and yoga zone. There's a specially-constructed walkway on the campus for residents for their morning or evening walks, an art gallery, a hall for organising spiritual discourses, music and entertainment rooms, a gymnasium, outdoor and indoor games facilities and a fishing deck.
A doctor and attendants will be available 24X7 apart from an infirmary and arrangements with hospitals to shift residents in case of emergency.
There's a guest house for relatives or children to stay.
Additionally, the institute runs a medical and education centre attached to the campus for the people of nearby villages where residents will be allowed to offer their services.
Aumorto will provide all amenities an elderly person would require to live a comfortable life, Ranjan Mitter, secretary, Aurobindo Institute of Culture, said. "We have retired executives, chartered accountants, doctors, engineers, bankers and lawyers among those who have booked our apartments," he said. "So, we have tried to provide everything that will help the residents live a more meaningful life."
Pictures by Anup Bhattacharya