Sometimes all it takes to change the harmful status quo is one brave person asking one big question: “why?”
Rights movements throughout history have been based on this one word question, and the movement for the right to better care for senior citizens in India is described in this great Forbes article.
In 2010, Singh Vachani conceived of plans for a senior residential living community in the Indian town of Dehradun. While that may sound fairly unoriginal, as similar communities throughout North America abundant, there are a few details that make this one stand out. Vachani was 23 when she came up with the design and Vachani is a woman. In India, such communities are unheard of. Added to that, women are fairly underrepresented in leadership roles.
The idea of such a community came about thanks to her experiences studying abroad in Singapore. Though similar communities exist throughout many Asian countries, they aren’t common in India. That compelled Vachani to ask why that was so and, one better, to make a similar community in her home country a reality.
The project ran into problems when it came time to deal with the government. As Indian society did not have such a system in place for those over 60, the government also lacked the proper system in place for the construction of such a community, forcing Vachani to classify the homes to be built under the banner of “community service” to obtain licensing.
There are also stigmas in India about existing senior care facilities, thanks in large part to the country’s focus on the family as a cohesive unit, some Indians associate those in such facilities as being, as the article describes, “given the boot.”
The article does not aim to dog the Indian government or shame Indian society. Rather, it is to both draw attention to a segment of society that often is left out of the discussion and to recognize an enterprising young woman who has righted a wrong.
In a society where women often are denied a voice of their own—the company to which Vachani would report had an all-male boardroom—Vachani illustrated that accomplishing real change is limited not by gender, but by vision and determination alone.
The name of the community Vachani created, Antara Senior Living, exemplifies the impact her vision has; “Tara” means starlight and “Antar” is Sanskrit for what amounts to meaning “the difference.”
It’s clear that the contribution Vachani has made to India represents a difference anyone, irrespective of their age, gender or national origin can appreciate.
If you are interested in how North America compares to other countries when it comes to Seniors and living accommodations, here's another interesting article: Top 5 Places Where People Live the Longest.