How Epoch elder care has become a home for senior citizens with dementiaR Saritha
Blurb: Epoch elder care, an assisted living facility, is providing special care for elderly suffering from dementia and helping them have a quality of life.
“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honor”– Tia Walker
Our parents bring us up with unconditional love and care. As they grow older, it's our turn to give them that unconditional love and care, especially the ones living with dementia.
Dementia refers to a group of conditions characterised by loss of memory, anxiety, behavioural changes, delusion, etc. Some of the conditions are Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, etc.
India has the second largest ageing population in the world and there is a significant rise in the population suffering from conditions such as dementia. There is a strong need for assisted living and home care facilities, as caring for elderly can be a big challenge and needs professional training. Former McKinsey employee, Kabir Chadha realized there was lack of such facilities and thus started Epoch, a Home Care Service based in Gurgaon.
Converting adversity into opportunity
When Kabir decided to move to India from the USA in 2011 to take care of his maternal grandmother, he realised that caring for elderly can be challenging and demanding. Unlike other western countries, India did not have many assisted living or home care facilities. Along with Neha Sinha, a clinical psychologist and a dementia specialist as CEO, he founded Epoch in the same year. Their vision is to help the elderly with dementia enjoy a quality life in their grey years.
“There are two types of people in this world: a small number who are energised by caring for others and everyone else who is drained by it. The key to running a successful senior living business is figuring out how to identify the first type and at Epoch Elder Care, we've gotten pretty good at it. It all comes down to the people for us – our patient, caring, and well-organised team allows us to bring moments of joy to our senior residents and support them and their families through difficult times. These qualities are doubly important when caring for seniors with dementia," says 30-year-old Kabir.
Epoch operates in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, and Pune and has offered serviced to over 300 seniors. In the course of time, they realised that providing home care was not enough. Many seniors were in need of constant nursing care and supervision, and several had no local family support. In 2014, they decided to change it into an assisted living facility. In a short span of time, Epoch has grown to be an industry leader in both elder and dementia care and a brand that is trusted by families for the care of their loved one.
Dementia is a very heart-wrenching disease – not only for the sufferer, but even more for their children. To see your loved one fade away in front of you is extremely traumatic. There needs to be a support system in place for dealing with this disease since the journey is often long, draining, and expensive. To begin with, every community touch point needs to be sensitised to pick up symptoms of dementia and not just treat it as a usual old age problem.
Neha was very close to her grandparents and through Epoch she found her passion to care for the elderly. Apart from being a dementia specialist, she is also trained in palliative care from Sophiahemmet University, Stockholm. She has gained international recognition for creating dementia services in India, as well as being recognised in the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia list 2016.
Entering into their world as they like it
“Sometimes, it gives an immense joy to see your heart's deepest desire come true. We always try to make Epoch a home to our elderly residents, especially those who are living with dementia. One day during my rounds to visit the elderly residents, there was a newcomer, an elderly lady. She was very anxious and wanted to go back to home and her family. This continued for a while. But one fine day, with an amicable smile, she told me: ‘It feels good that every day you come to my home to see me’. That day I could truly saw our purpose coming to life. Epoch truly is becoming their home.”
There is lots of social stigma around conditions like dementia in India. Families are hesitant to seek professional care or join them into an assisted living. Caring for a family member with dementia can be physically and mentally draining and requires undwindling commitment as a caregiver.
In this fast-paced world, most of us are busy chasing goals. In such a situation assisted living facilities can be helpful in making the grey years of our loved ones better. In these facilities, social engagement, nutrition, and medical needs of the elderly are taken care of by trained professionals.
Epoch provides holistic, person-centered care that enables seniors to have the highest quality of life. The organisation is striving to help elderly enjoy their grey years.