Prasad Bhide came up with the idea of Aaji Care – a non-medical care organisation specialising in geriatrics- after his mother was released from the Intensive Care Unit.

It was 2012, and the whole family was absorbed in a loop of anxiety and frustration caused by the multiplicity of post-recovery cures required. Prasad was then working in the US as a software engineer and there was no one back home who could dedicate full time to his mother while her treatment was going on.

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Nutan Ghag is a 20-year-old college student who works part-time with Mumbai-based Aaji Care, an organisation that offers monthly companionship packages for senior citizens.

She has been visiting Patil for eight months, for four hours a day — half of which is spent solving puzzles and reading. “The astrology page is our favourite one in the newspaper,” Patil says.

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Besides providing geriatric care, Aaji Care offers nursing visits, physiotherapy services and health care attendants. It has 50 paid companions in its database. Bhide attributes the high growth in the sector to the disintegration of the joint family system in the country. “Moreover, the percentage of working couples has increased,” he points out.

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Dr Ajay Pillai, a physiotherapist and head of client relationships with Aaji Care, carried out a discreet assessment of Mrs Rajaram's mental and physical capabilities and suggested hourly care for her...

Shubhangi Raut, 41, a care assistant with Aaji Care, visits the Rajarams' house every morning and helps her client bathe and do physical exercises. At night, another assistant, Jagruti Bombate, helps the...

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Pushpa Mohan Sakri, a petite and soft-spoken 36 year old mother, used to work in an essence and syrup packaging unit in Bhiwandi. A ninth standard pass out, she is now employed at the posh Hiranandani area as a caregiver to a woman in a semi-coma state. “She can’t move and she behaves like a child,” is how Pushpa describes her client.

As she watches over the bedridden client, feeds her and bathes her, the busy people of Mumbai are on the lookout for more such Pushpas who can give daily, round-the-clock care to their ailing family members. Add to the ailing those such as specially-abled children and the elderly.

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Aaji Care offers a physical panic button, which calls five phone numbers, including the company itself in an emergency. Bhide said he is also working on a smart device the elderly can use easily and discreetly to summon help when needed. India has more than 104 million people aged 60 and older, according to official data.

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The Genesis of Aaji Care was in his personal experience when his mother was admitted to an ICU while he was working in the US. Being the only son he rushed to be by her side, but work beckoned him back to the US, and he had the toughest time trying to find a reliable agency to take care of his recovering mother, as his father was also around 70 years old. He realised the sector was very unorganised as no one is training for quality patient and elderly care.

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Aaji Care-at-Home Services is a social enterprise that aims to redefine non-medical personal Care services offered at home to families with patient, seniors, kids and differently abled persons. In today’s market, most of these care needs are fulfilled by untrained and ill-equipped resources and usually there is a huge gap between family’s expectations and what they receive from existing service providers.

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Decoding dementia: Need more dedicated professional carers, say experts

Prasad Bhide, the founder of Aaji Care Home Health Services and Aarambh, a 24/7 home and day care centre for the elderly, said caring for the elderly is an issue that is much larger than meets the eye. “Today, managing the elderly is becoming a challenge because every member of a family goes out for work. They have to rely on attendants and carers. The challenge for families with dementia suffers becomes bigger since they have to find trained staff to take care of their dear ones,” he explained.

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