Skip to main content

Our Old Age Home Stay Experience

We planned a week’s visit to an old-age home in Lonavala, in a group of ten from Bilimora between 7 and 14-Mar-2019. Dr. Pravin Gilitwala led the team and organised because he had been there numerous times. Dr. Bhavana Desai (my wife) and I were little uncertain about the venue and timetable there but agreed just to have a new experience altogether. To our surprise, everything turned out to be better than all we thought. We had a great time all in all!

Kapol Sanatorium, Lonavala

Just by the old Mumbai-Pune highway is situated this old-age home for fixed one week stay. Only old-age people above 60 years are invited to stay for a week starting every Thursday and ending the next Thursday, in a total number of hundred. There are AC and non-AC rooms available for fixed one week, at different rates. These are twin-sharing rooms charged at is Rs. 6,000 and Rs. 12,000 per week, based on individual preferences. The rooms are like single bedroom apartments with four beds, dining table and kitchen having LPG gas connection and utensils for cooking, serving and eating. The bathroom and lavatory were separate, with the well-set bathroom having hot-cold water and shower (and also the western type commode aptly preferred by the elderly). The television or music systems were purposefully excluded. There is an intercom telephone connecting every room to the office, room service and other rooms. The housekeeping staff clean the room and utensils and also wash clothes every day.

There is a hall with a sound system and big screen television for daily gatherings, a well-maintained garden with swings and chairs, a joggers’ track and a temple for daily prayers from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Smt. Kala Doshi was in charge of prayer session ready with Aarti, Bhajans, other prayers and songs. The added attraction of this meeting was the birthday and wedding anniversary celebration. Our friend Bharti Trivedi singing Bhajans, Ghazals and songs with harmonium was the best of all. Wedding anniversary celebration of three couples was held on Wednesday (13-Mar-2019) following prayers. Dr. Bhavana Desai and I, Mr. Indravadan Mehta and one more couple had their wedding anniversary. Smt. Kala and all others sang Lagna Geeto (wedding songs) for us. All were happy and a bit emotional. We threw an ice cream party to all present there.

I must admit, meeting Antubhai reminded me of my father. He had just a similar look and mannerism. I would feel how a father-son bonded and had an emotional outburst. You do not know how people can be that good and kind to any unknown.

Musical Delight

During 9:00 to 10:00 PM every evening, most of us used to gather in the hall to enjoy a musical feast served by our inmates Sharad Parekh (USA), Chandresh Trivedi (Ahmedabad), Dr. Bhavana Desai (Bilimora) and Varsha Gandhi (Mumbai). All four sang songs - Sharadbhai sang all the songs as a solo artist, Chandreshbhai as a performer with Karaoke music in the background, Dr. Bhavana Desai sang songs of her choice and as a partner in duets and Varshaben sang Bhajans, Garaba and songs of her choice. The excitement heightened when Garaba, musical chair and Antakshari also got added. Before calling the night at 10:00 PM., we had a fun-packed evening!

Late Night Meetings

We the ten from Bilimora used to gather in one of the rooms every night, to chitchat and enjoy the light mood of joking till sleep forced, even till 1:00 AM! A laugh was the only end result of whatever we talked. According to mood, at least five-six of us met regularly.

The Food

The breakfast at 8:00 AM, lunch at 12:00 PM, tea/coffee and light snacks at 4:00 PM and dinner at 8:00 PM was the fixed timetable. The bell was rung to invite everyone to the dining hall.

The breakfast typically contained Upma, Uttapa, Poha, Wada, Idli, Sambhar and similar. The food was always warm and fresh. They used to write the daily menu on the whiteboard.

The lunch included a sweet, Puran Poli, only on Sunday. Everyday morning menu contained a Farshan in addition to Daal - Rice, vegetables with cereals and Roti. Evening menu also had a variety of dishes like Bhel, Panipuri, Khichdi-Kadhi, Dal Dhokali and what not. Eight days of meal expenses barely charged Rs. 1,800 per person. The manners of staff in the dining hall were pleasing, welcoming and respecting to each one of us. Well, I have never seen such well-behaved staff in many places.

Our Itinerary of Old-age Home Stay

  • Journey to Lonavala from Bilimora, allotment of rooms, get set and go!
Friday 10:30 AM
  • Welcome meeting, introductions and get together
  • Welcome address by Anant Dhoshi
  • He reiterated, 'we are not doing any social service, we are enjoying and getting pleasure we love to be with you all'
  • All inmates introduced themselves – name, native place and occupation, etc.
  • Walk to Swayambhu Ganesh Temple
Saturday 10:30 AM
05:00 PM
  • Colouring competition 
  • Visit to Narayani temple
Sunday 10:30 AM
02:00 PM
  • Spinner game 
  • Lonavala and Khandala sightseeing 
Monday 10:30 AM
04:00 PM
  • My lecture on eye care
  • Brahmakumari Manishaben's lecture
  • Pleasure Trip of Ishmangal Herbal Farm and Durga Parmeshwari temple
Tuesday 08:30 AM
  • Full day visit to Bhima Shankar Temple (around 200 k.m. away)
  • Evening visit to Sunil’s Wax Museum
Wednesday 08:00 PM
  • No time table – no plan
  • Simply a retiring and relaxing day
  • Valedictory function to celebrate our wedding anniversary with “Lagna Geeto” and ice cream
  • Goodbye till the next visit and return journey to Bilimora
Everyday 07:00 AM
  • Yoga by Prof. Mujadia

Kapol Sanatorium, Lonavala is active because of three persons staying there. Chairman Pravin Dalal, Ex-trustee and full-time in-charge Antubhai alias Anant Doshi (85) and his wife Kalaben (84). In spite of age, they are active, involved, interested and get everything done for the ease and pleasure of inmate guests.

We were a group of 63 (Sixty Three) this week. The first reaction on entering and seeing the crowd of old (really old) and a bit-debilitated guest was negative. I remembered the old-age homes I had seen and wondered how I would ever pass seven days of a week. I would console myself by reminding that I at least had nine others with me – my wife, Dr. Pravinbhai and Naliniben with his brother Devendrabhai, Prof. Vasantbhai Mujadia with his wife Minaben, Prof. Minuben, Shri Piyushbhai Dharaiya and last but not the least Bharatiben Trivedi. The beginning proved to turn wrong and later nearly all 63 became very close - turning into our brothers, sisters, mothers or fathers.

The majority of the senior citizens were mainly from Mumbai and Kapols, others were from Bilimora, Rajkot, Gandhinagar, Pune and the USA, got attached with many in a short duration. Let me narrate my attachment with them.

Champak Shah looks just like my late Ishwar Masaji - so I took his photos from all angles. I felt if he was another Ishwarbhai. To talk about this, I visited his room and we had a heart-to-heart talk. The tie of relations developed will last long. Jayendra Padia from Rajkot was single here. Since he is from the Sales Tax Department, we had lots to talk about and also referred to my relative Ketanbhai Desai who retired from the same department recently. He has written many books on Sales Tax.

Varshaben Gandhi and her husband were very open to all of us. She told about her bad experience of sonography. Being a singer, Garaba player and a light-minded lady, our association reached a great height. Indravadan Mehta shared their wedding anniversary with us – he has visited this place frequently for the last twenty years.

I must say the most active amongst all was Sharadbhai Parekh from the USA. He sang filmy songs, Gujarati songs and Garaba every day. 97 years old Gangadas Gandhi was active, interested and participated in all the activities. The youngest (58) was Minuben Mujadia (Bilimora) - a jolly, enjoying and expressing like an innocent child. Maybe she was the best in the group.

My daughter Vaishali managed to visit us for one day and found out how the stay was.

Summary of the experience is good. Yes, for a change once in a while, this is a great stay. Yes, old-age homes stay (if compulsion forces) can be joyous and good if the crowd around is positive, well-dressed and enjoying. Hope nobody needs such a stay by compulsion till death, but if so happens, better learn to enjoy the life there instead of cursing – criticising all concerned. My wife Bhavana had a great pleasure being an artist singing songs every day, performing Garaba and leading event of musical-chair game and Antakshari. I too felt great all the while being with people respecting both of us.

Yes, stay in old-age home is worth trying.

Dr. Bharat Desai
Desai Eye Hospital, Bilimora

Map directions to Kapol Sanatorium, Lonavala


Readers' Comments Related Articles


Readers also liked:

ભગવાન શિવ શંકર – ભોલેનાથ

શિવ – શંકર – ભોલેનાથ તરીકે
ભગવાન શંકર નો પરિચય ભોલેનાથ તરીકે અવરનવાર આપવામાં આવે છે, તે અમસ્તો નથી. તેના ભોળપણ ના અસંખ્ય દાખલાઓ તેમના જીવનમાથી જોવા મળે છે, તેથી આ વાત સાબિત થયેલ છે. તો, ચાલો,તેની વિગત મેળવીએ.

ભગવાન શિવ દુનિયાદારીથી તદ્દન અજાણ હતા એટલે તેમને લગ્ન કેવી રીતે થાય, લગ્ન પછી ઘર કેમ જોઈએ અથવા લગ્ન પછી શરીર સંબધ શા માટે જરૂરી તેની બિલકુલ ખબર નહોતી.

History Of Muslims In India: Hindu-Muslim Relations

With this article, I would like to tell you about three things: (1) History of Islam and Muslims in India; then I will try to elaborate, specifically telling (2) What went wrong; and finally I will conclude telling (3) The future of relations amongst Muslims and Hindus.

Although it is routine to give references, in the end, I shall start with the list of three reference books in the beginning. All these details are not mine, I’ve only summarized them from these books.

Anavils - An Endangered Community

After Parsis, Anavils (Anavil Brahmins, અનાવિલ બ્રાહ્મણ ) are the fastest decreasing community. The total population of Anavils around the world does not exceed two lakhs figure and that is also fast reducing day by day. Days are not far, beyond a century or so, when they will have to be seen/found in records, photos and videos. Why?

   - they get married too late,    - many are dying unmarried,    - they wait for the career to be settled before the first (and maybe the only) childbirth.

Gujarat – Introduction And History

A student of History has to understand Geography, Economics and Anthropology simultaneously. A person curious to know about world history has to proceed step by step, learning his own state first, then country and then only one can understand world history. Well, appreciating above facts, I am starting my study with History Of My State Of Gujarat. I have put it in order of time and later described important states and rulers.

Dawood Ibrahim - A Journey From Dongri To Karachi, Via Dubai

One of the recent off-bit topics I’ve read, this one book about ‘Mumbai Mafia’ has been the most interesting, well-researched and well-written. Here is an excerpt from Dawood Ibrahim's journey from “Dongri to Dubai”, and the six decades of Mumbai mafia.

Janki Van – A Nature Retreat

If you want to be alone to be with nature, it is an ideal spot. But if you enjoy crowds with your group this is an equally important place to visit.
42 km from Bilimora on Vansda Road, we reached Janki Van in less than an hour. Dr Nayana Patel, Dr Bhavana Desai (my wife) and I visited the place impromptu on a weekday.

The name Janki is related to Sita Mata of Ramayana and it is believed that at a certain point in the history, Sita Mata did stay here. The garden, a great picnic spot (16 hectors big), is situated 5 km away from Vansda, 6 km from Unai and 42 km from Bilimora. It is developed by the Gujarat Forestry Department under social forestry action and was inaugurated on 02-Aug-2015 while celebrating the Forest Day. Please, keep in mind it remains closed on Monday and visiting hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

મારું વસિયતનામું

માંદગીમાં સારવાર અને મરણ વખતની ક્રિયાઓને લાગતું વસિયતનામું 
મારી સાંઠ વર્ષની ઉંમરે મે મારી આત્મકથા લખેલી તેમાં મારી માંદગીની સારવાર અને મૃત્યુ પછીની વિધિઓ મારા પત્ની અને બાળકો જેમ કરશે તે મને મંજુર રહેશે-એવું વિધાન મે કર્યું હતું. હા, તે વાત હું હજીપણ એમની એમ જ સ્વીકારું જ છું પરંતુ, હવે દસ વર્ષ પછીના મારા વિચારોનો ખ્યાલ આવે એટલા પૂરતું આ પત્ર લખું છું. 
મારી શારીરિક તકલીફોનો ઈલાજ કઈ રીતે કરાવવું તે બાબતે કમસેકમ મારા પોતાને લગતા કેટલાક ખ્યાલો મે નક્કી કર્યા છે, તેનું વિગતવાર વર્ણન હું કરીશ.

જો બેભાન ન હોઉ અથવા કહો કે માનસિક રીતે નિર્ણયશક્તિ ગુમાવી ન ચુક્યો હોઉ તો, મારી ઉંમરને લગતી કોઈપણ માંદગીની કેવી-કેટલી અને ક્યાં સારવાર કરાવવી તેનો નિર્ણય હું લઈશ. પણ હું બોલીને કે બીજીરીતે કહી ન શકું એમ બને તો માર્ગદર્શક બને એ રીતે સારવારની વાતો કહીશ.

Rahul & Shivani's Wedding

Whatever smartness or intelligence one has, to anticipate the probable attitude of the future partner is difficult. So for the continuation of the marriage, adjustment and compromises are must, compulsory.

One has to marry because the law does not allow man-woman physical relations at random and society has laid certain norms of man-woman staying together. Though liberate present-day scenario allows live-in relations and physical relationship without much fuss, marriages are unavoidable.

Once decided to marry, the second question arising is the method – the technique of the wedding. How many persons to be invited, the place of the wedding, the menu and its preparation and the details of the function is the subject of this article.

Jainism: Simplified

I am introducing here world spread religion having 5.5 million followers, mainly in India and abroad like USA, UK, Canada, East Africa and many other countries in one of the six greatest religions. Word "Jain" is derived from "Jina" meaning conqueror. "Arihant" is one who has destroyed his inner enemies like anger, greed, passion and ego.

Karmic Theory (Law Of Karma)

“Facing Challenges and Creating Destiny” by BK Shivani, Gurgaon
National Conference on Mind-Body-Medicine, Mount Abu.
August 6-10, 2010
What is Karma?

Karma is work or energy going out in the form of 1. Thought, 2. Word and/or 3. Action. Resultant return of energy is in the same amount known as Bhagya (Destiny). The role of God is to ask you to do Karma and to help you to do RIGHT karma. Then whatever good/bad karma you do, the result is accordingly and entirely your responsibility. Because the result is Destiny (Bhagya). So don’t blame anyone else or God for anything bad. Do not try to blame someone responsible for your own deed and its result.