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Emerald green fields of rice stretch as far as the eye could see with patches of mature paddy undulating in the gentle breeze. The landscape is dotted with mango orchards; in the evening village goatherds sing their lilting songs as they herd their flocks home. In the midst stands a castle that is truly a dignified home for elders.

We are not attempting a crude translation of verses from Tamil literature but portray a true to life description of a wonderful elder care facility “Nandhavanam”.  Faithful to its name, Nandhavanam is a beautiful and verdant facility dotted with coconut palms, mango and guava trees and hundreds of flowering shrubs. The double-gated facility is very secure and is monitored by CCD cameras round the clock. The word theft has been successfully erased from Nandhavanam’s vocabulary! The administration is top notch, very centralized and the senior management is involved on the day-to-day operations hands on.  The facility is cashless, no employee can accept tips thus largely stemming out favoritism and every employee as far as we could observe and hear is treated equal. This Institution is run with a missionary zeal. From top to bottom the number one concern of the facility is the welfare of the residents. It is heartwarming to see one and all show genuine concern, love, and compassion for the elderly.

Members are housed in blocks and each block is home to a dozen residents.  The rooms are thoughtfully furnished with built-in spacious closets, and flat screen TV. Each block is complete with a dining hall where residents can meet for meals rain or shine and interact as much or as little as they wish. The block becomes a resident’s de facto family. Paved walking trails runs through the property for elders to walk or stroll on wheelchairs.  The facility is very clean and the housekeeping staffs keep the place in tiptop shape.  Tasty south Indian vegetarian meals are prepared in a centralized kitchen and brought to each block on time.  The menu changes daily and is prepared in consultation with a dietician. The dining hall staff keeps an eye on a resident’s food consumption and reports it to the management if the intake drops.  If a resident does not show up for a meal the staff knock on the door to ensure that the resident is all right. I (Vijaya Ramesh from the US) stayed there for 12 days and did not suffer from any GI problem after consuming the food!

Nandhavanam provides an excellent medical infrastructure.  A nurse is on duty 7/24 and a physician from Kancheepuram is always on call.  An internist from the nearest metropolis, Chennai, visits the facility periodically and offers consultation to the residents. An ambulance is primed and ready to take a resident to Kancheepuram at any time of the day. The facility has a block deemed for assisted living, where residents are provided support as needed. Further, occupational care for elderly/disabled members at other blocks is available and is tailored to specific situation. The care providers are very flexible as to the time and level of care.

We agonized at the thought of moving our mother to an assisted facility.  The concept of moving elders to an institution is relatively new in South India and totally new to our family.  Nandhavanam made the move-in a breeze. The room was prepared with attention to fine details and had a set of all essential needs down to a LED flashlight, nail clipper and flip flops to wear indoors! The staff readily and cheerfully assisted in moving and setting our mother’s room. After moving my mother to Nandhavanam, we are totally at peace that our mother will be cared for lovingly and with dignity. We would recommend this facility without any reservation to those who are considering options for elder care to place their loved ones or to folks who want to have a peaceful retired life.

For more information please visit Nadhavanam website: http://icaremylife.com

Contributed by: Vijaya Ramesh, Wayland, MA, USA and Jayalakshmi Balasubramanian, T’Nagar, Chennai, India.

One thought on “Nandhavanam- a hidden gem for elder care near Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu”

  1. A great topic to learn how is the proper taking care of the elder’s. Thank you for sharing this important article, keep it up!.

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