Visit to Athashree Aastha

Persons Interacted with:
Dr. Rhayakar (Aastha)
Mr. Yadav (Athashree)

Date of Visit: 29th Mar, 2018


A visit was organized to Astha and Athashree at Pashan, Pune on 28th Mar, 2017. Astha is a high end assisted living facility for seniors who are willing to live on their own, with high-end facilities provided to them based on their requirements. This is primarily managed by Dr. Rhayakar, who is the resident doctor managing the facility. Athashree on the other hand, is a residential facility built by Paranjape Builders and Developers primarily catered to the senior citizens, who can buy flats in the society and live with their family members.

Aastha primarily is a 42-bed facility with independent rooms spread across 4 floors at Pashan. This facility has resident nurses in each of the floors who are present to take care of emergency medical needs of the occupants in that particular floor. The facility did not have high-end medical equipment to deal with complicated cases. Most of the residents had limited mobility and were suffering from paralysis, arthritis and similar disorders. They have a clear policy of not taking in residents with higher levels of dementia/ Alzheimers, and a specific laid down criteria of the kind of residents they admit, based on a lot of factors such as medical complications, financial considerations, facilities needed, background of the family and so on. A collaboration has been set-up for referring emergency cases to hospitals such as Jupiter, Poona Hospital and DMH. This is facilitated by an ambulance available round the clock for taking patients to these hospitals. They focus on providing a good quality of life to people post-retirement, who could afford to pay and not stay at homes. One of their main focus areas is to have a lot of activities which ensures social inclusion and participation among the residents. The rooms have all basic furniture, which were customizable based on the needs of the residents in those rooms. The lighting in the rooms is kept adequate to ensure the residents do not face any discomfort. The bathrooms have support structures to prevent falls and also notify the caretakers in case of emergency. A dietician, physiotherapist, gerontologist and specialized doctors have scheduled weekly visits and have access to the medical records of each of the residents. Caretakers and nurses stay in-house, who have been primarily recruited from specialized caregiving courses run by TISS, Mumbai. The monthly cost per room is around 45000 INR per month with a deposit amount. Due diligence is carried out to ensure that the resident staff at Astha and families are in agreement with the process of on-boarding at the facility. Interactions with family members are also facilitated from time to time, to ensure healthy ageing for the residents.

Overall, in brief, this facility is catered to a specific target segment, who has the willingness to pay for good services, highlighted by the fact that more than 50% of the residents have stayed for more than 4 years in the facility. From a need perspective, nothing significant could be found out. However, we hope further interactions with Dr. Rhayakar might provide us with some useful insights.

Athashree is primarily a residential project facility intended for the stay of senior citizens. It has 1 bhk, 2 bhk, 3 bhk options spread across the entire housing society along with all facilities such as gym, swimming pools, guest rooms, common recreational area, parks etc. This society provides the option of staying with their own family members, as long as the flat is booked on the name of a senior citizen in the family. They have rooms with different dimensions and architecture based on the liking of the individuals. The rooms have high enough friction to avoid slips and falls, and there is a chain like a lever in the bathroom for the resident to highlight, in case of any emergency while at the bathroom. The rooms had locks from inside, and could be private properties for individuals. They have a common kitchen facility, where the residents can come and eat together. The kitchen facility has a fixed menu for each time of the day, prepared by a dietician and it is ensured that every 15 days the menu is changed. They have specialized lifts for residents with disabilities and have access to a round the clock ambulance. An electric vehicle plies around the housing society to help residents commute across the society. They also have spaces where they come together and celebrate different festivals together, due to the presence of a diverse crowd. They also have bus facility which takes the residents to various parts of the city once a week. There are caretakers and a resident house manager available round the clock 24 x 7 to ensure all contingencies are taken care of.

Overall, it is a facility where senior citizens can live together in the comfort of homes, but with the company of other senior citizens to ensure social inclusion, which might prevent the onset of various disorders associated with ageing. No significant need as such was observed during the visit and after our discussion with Mr. Yadav (resident manager at Athashree).

The presence of facilities such as Astha And Athashree points towards a society where due to the formation of nuclear families and better-paying jobs/ pension post-retirement, senior citizens appreciate the value of a life with a good quality of living. The family members have been mostly found to reside outside and with their busy lives, are not able to give enough time to family members. This leads to social isolation, which degrades the cognitive skills much faster than usual. This establishes the need for a service, where:
a. Basic living requirements are met,
b. Social inclusion is addressed with group activities along with similar age group people,
c. The continued companionship of similar age group with whom they can talk or just share their feelings/ sentiments with,
d. Assisted living facilities, which prevents daily mishaps occurring at old age, using customized design and architecture,
e. Access to round the clock medical emergency services including access to specialists and ambulance services,
f. Weekly consultations with specialists to cater to their healthy living from all aspects.