A Shelter For Homeless Seniors, Jeevan Aadhar Seva Sanstha Mumbai
Updated: Aug 4, 2019
Jeevan Aadhar Seva Sanstha (JASS) is a home and temporary shelter for the elderly who are ill, abandoned or homeless. JASS initiated this form of service in March 2017, with two 4 bedrooms rental flats in Diva, Maharashtra, by Mr. Sudhir Jadhav. JASS identifies abandoned individuals, largely elderly people, to be discharged from a hospital or from the roadside, who have no place of their own and provides them with shelter, food, medication, care and most importantly, respect.
A Home of Hope for the Elderly
We see many ill, elderly people lying on the footpath each day. They are often homeless, ill and abandoned by their own families because they cannot afford to house their parents. Many of these elderly are picked up by the police to undergo a court trial to decide their fate. If they are found to be medically unfit, they are sent to government hospitals for free treatment. However, once their treatment is complete, they still have no place to call their own. The police leave it up to medical social workers (MSW) to find NGOs to house these people. Generally, children are better served and treated than the elderly; the problem gets compounded for bed-ridden elderly people as NGOs too are selective in taking such elderly patients under their fold.
JASS takes on the role of the ultimate caregiver! Mr. Sudhir Jadhav and his wife, Mrs. Zena, accept these elderly people with an open heart and have the capacity to house 20 elderly, abandoned individuals into their receiving home. They provide them with all the care and support they deserve, treating them as their own parents and grandparents.
While working with street kids in Khar, Bandra Terminus and Vakola Signal in Mumbai, Mr. Jadhav realized that there were several elders and senior citizens who were desolate along the footpath in dire need of medical attention. He began treating them on the roadside. However, this was not enough. They needed shelter, which prompted him to house the elders in two flats very close to Diva railway station, to keep accommodation costs under check. This housing is a temporary respite home. If the residents require permanent shelter, they are shifted to Kudal village, where they have arrangements for housing more people.
JASS is a one-couple show. Mr. and Mrs. Jadhav had a tough time finding volunteers to stay. They have taken it upon themselves to run this home with skeleton staff and support.
Mr. Jadhav himself has lifted old people up 6 floors, as the elevators in the building are not operational. The couple now stays with them and ensures that they are provided with all the love, care, support, medical attention and respect they require. He also treats their bed-sores and changes the diapers of bed-ridden house members, which is an act of unconditional love that even their own child may hesitate to do. Mrs. Zena Jadhav ensures the well-being of all the members of the house and takes special care of elderly ladies housed with them.
Apart from this, JASS have the support from a volunteer who helps with cooking and cleaning and engaging with the house members to keep them busy. Occasionally, the church group nearby provides groceries and children come in and volunteer to clean up and paint the rooms and spend time with the elders.
The house members are served with breakfast, fruits, lunch, tea/snacks and dinner in a timely manner. They have a TV for entertainment and for watching cricket matches occasionally. Soaked in sunlight, the rooms are airy and spacious with two beds per room. To facilitate open atmosphere, they also have a balcony decorated with a Tulsi plant overlooking the station and some greenery for the members to sit and look out. Mrs. Zena often conducts yoga sessions and breathing exercises in the mornings for the elderly to relax and move a little.
Abandoned by their loved ones, these elderly feel hopeless and alone. But JASS provides personal touch, respect and care to ensure that they feel secure and regain their self-respect.
On reaching Diva Station, we met Mr. Jadhav who was busy picking up specific newspapers and things that the elderly housed in his abode had requested for. He walked us up 6 floors to find two flats with both doors wide open, as though they welcomed us in with open arms.
Currently housing 12 elderly individuals, we met all the house members and all of them had the same thing to say: they felt like they belonged and that there was someone to take care of them; they only had nice things to say about the home.
One of the elderly gentlemen kept remembering his son and how he abandoned them, but Mr. Jadhav reassured him that he will always be there for them as their son and never leave them. Few elderly were bedridden, but they still had smiles on their faces. The volunteer who was present called all the elderly ladies to the kitchen to help with cutting vegetables to keep them occupied.
The love and personal attention given to each member of the house is rare to see. In the words of Mr. Jadhav, “I was myself brought up in an orphanage. I see my parents and grandparents in them”.
In dire need of more space to house the elderly, Mr. Jadhav spends approximately 55,000/- on house rent and salary for volunteers.
JASS seeks long-term volunteers and donations in the form of money, groceries, wheel chairs, walkers, books/magazines in Hindi, Marathi and English, washing machine, pots with plants etc. and above all volunteers to come and share their love with the JASS family of elders.
We all strongly believe that a household with elderly people is a truly blessed one. It is a true example of what selfless love and care is all about.
It was a memorable experience and one must visit JASS and experience a house full of hope and blessings and where elderly people feel secure, confident and valued, and live with dignity.