Chennai-Based Old Age Home Keeps Elders Engaged By Teaching Needy Children

In the bustling city of Chennai, there exists an old age home that stands out from the rest. Rather than simply providing a place for elderly residents to live out their golden years, this home takes a unique approach to senior care.

The residents of this home, who have lived through a lifetime of experiences and gained a wealth of knowledge, have taken it upon themselves to share their wisdom with the next generation. By teaching needy children from the local community, these senior citizens have found a new sense of purpose and fulfillment, and have helped to create a unique and vibrant intergenerational community.

This is the story of the Chennai-based old age home that keeps elders engaged by teaching needy children, and the incredible impact it has had on all those involved.

The elderly woman, who serves as both a resident of the Anandam Trust's Old Age Home in Gangai Nagar, Kallikuppam, Chennai and as a teacher, exudes a sense of delight as she observes the students gathered around her.

These students, deserving children from the surrounding community, have come to the free Education Centre operated by the Trust, seeking additional instruction. The senior citizens of this old age home, many of whom may have faced hardship themselves, are committed to imparting their knowledge, abilities, and dedication to those who require it most. 

A second home

Anandam – A Free Home for Senior Citizens was started in 2003, accommodating three elders who met the criteria of having no living children or any source of income, in a modest home in Ambattur which was given free of rent by a well wisher. As word spread about the excellent work of Anandam, requests for accommodation started pouring in from deserving elders and within a span of two years they rented two more houses close by, to house a total of 22 elders.

Slowly but surely, with the support of our kind-hearted donors and well-wishers, Anandam moved into its own premises – a sprawling 24,000 sqft. complex built in 15 grounds of land & with a capacity to accommodate 105 elders. The Home was built as a model home complete with all facilities & modern amenities right from dormitories, kitchen with steam cooking & automated machines, dining room, prayer hall, physiotherapy room with all modern equipments, TV & entertainment room, library & medical ward attended by a team of doctors, nurses & attendants.

The organization says, “Based on their interests, capabilities and health condition, our residents carry out many of the day-to-day activities of the Home. Some help in kitchen chores, others assist in procurement of provisions; some look into maintenance-related tasks and a few others support in organizing in-house programmes.”

Why do they encourage this? Because keeping elders engaged in this manner has created a sense of belonging in them; being proactively involved keeps them physically and mentally agile; and it fosters a strong bond among residents as they take it upon themselves to look after each other’s well-being. They also encourage the talents of the elders by conducting regular music, yoga, tailoring & dance classes.

Education assistance

A child’s environment plays a crucial role in shaping his/her future. Many children from low-income communities come from single-parent households or an abusive environment with alcoholic fathers. They are also, more often than not, first-generation learners. On one hand, parents with little or no formal education are unable to help children academically. On the other, poor economic conditions act as a deterrent for deserving students who want to pursue higher education.

Through the Education Assistance Programme Anandam addresses both concerns.

The organization says, “In 2010, we started an evening tuition center with 7 students at our premises to provide free, after school coaching with the help of the elders. Today, we have 270 students from classes 3-12. We work closely with government/municipal school teachers to identify deserving students.”

Everyone at Anandam lives like a big joint family. Their love and affection can be seen and experienced by everyone. But what makes them stand out is their zeal for social work, and their belief to stay active. Everything in this old age home is managed by them with enthusiasm, including jobs like cooking. Most of the senior citizens here, with the exception of a few terminally ill residents, want to keep themselves fruitfully occupied.


Roshini Muthukumar

Roshini Muthukumar, a native of Chennai, started her career as a content writer but made a switch to journalism to pursue her passion. She has experience writing about human interest stories, innovative technology, entrepreneurs, research blogs, and more. Previously, Roshini has done internships with The Hindu, Metroplus and worked as a correspondent with The Better India.