Rashmi Malik would like to spend more time with her ageing mother in India but living in the UAE prevents her from doing so. Delores Johnson / The National
Rashmi Malik would like to spend more time with her ageing mother in India but living in the UAE prevents her from doing so. Delores Johnson / The National

UAE Indians seek help to care for elderly back home



DUBAI // Though Rashmi Malik, a Dubai expatriate, visits her ageing mother in India at least twice a year, she wishes she lived closer and could spend more quality time with her.

But with her family settled in the UAE, it is not feasible.

"We visit her fairly frequently in Pune," said Mrs Malik, 53. "There are lots of things we do together when I go. We go to see a play, go out for coffee. I do wish I could see her more often but she likes to live on her own. We worry because we are far away."

However, with an Indian agency now promising companionship and assistance to ageing, loved ones back home, expatriate or non-resident Indians (NRIs) like Mrs Malik believe a perfect solution may be at hand.

She was among a group who attended a presentation by Epoch Elder Care - a year-old agency that offers at-home professional care for the elderly in Indian cities - on Thursday at The Shelter in Al Quoz.

The caregiver promises companionship and will take clients for coffee and shopping, will help them make friends, will play games and assist them in learning technology.

Besides social outings, the agency's staff, who visit every day or alternate days for an hour or two, also monitor their client's health, help make medical appointments and provide assistance to older people suffering from Alzheimer's or dementia.

"I'd like things that are offered to her to keep her active and help her with her interests, maybe take her for a movie and chat with her or help her take up an activity that she may not have considered before," Mrs Malik said.

According to the 2011 census, India has 100 million people over the age of 65, second only to China. While this accounts for only 8 per cent of the population, the number is expected to double by 2040.

Homes for the elderly are often frowned upon by Indians, who believe looking after old people is the responsibility of their children.

Though it is common for older people to employ full-time domestic help for household chores, expatriates like Devika Harish, 40, believe health issues and boredom are bigger concerns for her ageing parents and in-laws.

"Malls and movies don't interest them any more," said Mrs Harish. "They are keen on social activities, get-togethers, maybe a cooking class or a club for older people. A lot of people go for religious classes, but that does not work for everyone. The challenge is health, boredom and companionship."

Mrs Harish, who also attended the event on Thursday, said the lack of assistance during regular hospital check-ups was a major issue faced by her family.

"A lot of the time, mum has to do the administrative work and has to run around while dad is waiting alone in the hospital room," she said. "Since we have chosen to move away from our parents and in-laws, it has its implications. When we moved to Dubai 13 years ago, we did not realise what ageing was.

"With my parents going through health issues, it's become daunting. At this stage, we are not there with them. They don't want us to move back because they know we have our commitments. And they prefer to be grounded in their environment. They find comfort in their own home."

Epoch Elder Care, which is targeting its first overseas clientele in the UAE, said this was the vacuum it intended to fill.

"We try to be a companion and a friend," said Kabir Chadha, the agency's founder and chief executive, who was in Dubai to speak to expatriate Indians. "We provide care like a son or daughter would. We try to emotionally bond, do fun things and provide intellectual companionship.

"NRIs fall into a trap. During the one week they come to India, they do chores. They fix appointments, take them to doctors and put a system in place so they feel good. But, they don't get time to watch a movie with mum or dad. We provide companionship and help with the chores."

Since the UAE was "one of the top six countries" where Indians lived and parents were the "top five" issues on an expatriate's mind, he said his agency had chosen the Emirates as its first destination. The clients of Epoch Elder Care are between 58 and 90-years-old.

But the care comes at a price.

Epoch charges between 11,000 rupees (Dh740) and 16,500 rupees (Dh1,110) per month, depending on the frequency of visits, which may not be affordable to everyone.

"Certainly cost will be an issue," said Alka Malik, 43, the sister-in-law of Rashmi. "It depends on the advantages. I am very much interested in the services being offered. It is something of a concern for all of us living here."

She said she felt guilty that her parents and in-laws had to fend for themselves in India.

"Moving here is not an option. This country is not geared for older people in terms of sheer company. They are probably lonelier here and bored out of their brains ... India is not an easy place to live. Running a household even for a young couple isn't easy."

Ms Malik said she would, however, weigh the advantages before opting for professional care.

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 261hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 1,750-4,000rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 10.5L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh129,999 (VX Luxury); from Dh149,999 (VX Black Gold)

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

The bio

Favourite book: Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer

Favourite quote: “The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist

Favourite Authors: Arab poet Abu At-Tayyib Al-Mutanabbi

Favourite Emirati food: Luqaimat, a deep-fried dough soaked in date syrup

Hobbies: Reading and drawing

Student Of The Year 2

Director: Punit Malhotra

Stars: Tiger Shroff, Tara Sutaria, Ananya Pandey, Aditya Seal 

1.5 stars

Fresh faces in UAE side

Khalifa Mubarak (24) An accomplished centre-back, the Al Nasr defender’s progress has been hampered in the past by injury. With not many options in central defence, he would bolster what can be a problem area.

Ali Salmeen (22) Has been superb at the heart of Al Wasl’s midfield these past two seasons, with the Dubai club flourishing under manager Rodolfo Arrubarrena. Would add workrate and composure to the centre of the park.

Mohammed Jamal (23) Enjoyed a stellar 2016/17 Arabian Gulf League campaign, proving integral to Al Jazira as the capital club sealed the championship for only a second time. A tenacious and disciplined central midfielder.

Khalfan Mubarak (22) One of the most exciting players in the UAE, the Al Jazira playmaker has been likened in style to Omar Abdulrahman. Has minimal international experience already, but there should be much more to come.

Jassim Yaqoub (20) Another incredibly exciting prospect, the Al Nasr winger is becoming a regular contributor at club level. Pacey, direct and with an eye for goal, he would provide the team’s attack an extra dimension.

Zakat definitions

Zakat: an Arabic word meaning ‘to cleanse’ or ‘purification’.

Nisab: the minimum amount that a Muslim must have before being obliged to pay zakat. Traditionally, the nisab threshold was 87.48 grams of gold, or 612.36 grams of silver. The monetary value of the nisab therefore varies by current prices and currencies.

Zakat Al Mal: the ‘cleansing’ of wealth, as one of the five pillars of Islam; a spiritual duty for all Muslims meeting the ‘nisab’ wealth criteria in a lunar year, to pay 2.5 per cent of their wealth in alms to the deserving and needy.

Zakat Al Fitr: a donation to charity given during Ramadan, before Eid Al Fitr, in the form of food. Every adult Muslim who possesses food in excess of the needs of themselves and their family must pay two qadahs (an old measure just over 2 kilograms) of flour, wheat, barley or rice from each person in a household, as a minimum.

The specs

Engine: 6.2-litre V8

Transmission: ten-speed

Power: 420bhp

Torque: 624Nm

Price: Dh325,125

On sale: Now

SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre turbo

Power: 181hp

Torque: 230Nm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Starting price: Dh79,000

On sale: Now

Notable groups (UAE time)

Jordan Spieth, Si Woo Kim, Henrik Stenson (12.47pm)

Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen (12.58pm)

Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood (1.09pm)

Sergio Garcia, Jason Day, Zach Johnson (4.04pm)

Rickie Fowler, Paul Casey, Adam Scott (4.26pm)

Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel, Rory McIlroy (5.48pm)

You Were Never Really Here

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Starring: Joaquim Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov

Four stars

Results:

Women:

1. Rhiannan Iffland (AUS) 322.95 points
2. Lysanne Richard (CAN) 285.75
3. Ellie Smart (USA) 277.70

Men:

1. Gary Hunt (GBR) 431.55
2. Constantin Popovici (ROU) 424.65
3. Oleksiy Prygorov (UKR) 392.30

the pledge

I pledge to uphold the duty of tolerance

I pledge to take a first stand against hate and injustice

I pledge to respect and accept people whose abilities, beliefs and culture are different from my own

I pledge to wish for others what I wish for myself

I pledge to live in harmony with my community

I pledge to always be open to dialogue and forgiveness

I pledge to do my part to create peace for all

I pledge to exercise benevolence and choose kindness in all my dealings with my community

I pledge to always stand up for these values: Zayed's values for tolerance and human fraternity

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Company profile

Company name: Hayvn
Started: 2018
Founders: Christopher Flinos, Ahmed Ismail
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Sector: financial
Initial investment: undisclosed
Size: 44 employees
Investment stage: series B in the second half of 2023
Investors: Hilbert Capital, Red Acre Ventures

JOKE'S ON YOU

Google wasn't new to busting out April Fool's jokes: before the Gmail "prank", it tricked users with mind-reading MentalPlex responses and said well-fed pigeons were running its search engine operations .

In subsequent years, they announced home internet services through your toilet with its "patented GFlush system", made us believe the Moon's surface was made of cheese and unveiled a dating service in which they called founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page "Stanford PhD wannabes ".

But Gmail was all too real, purportedly inspired by one – a single – Google user complaining about the "poor quality of existing email services" and born "millions of M&Ms later".

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

The Emperor and the Elephant

Author: Sam Ottewill-Soulsby

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Pages: 392

Available: July 11

The Bio

Hometown: Bogota, Colombia
Favourite place to relax in UAE: the desert around Al Mleiha in Sharjah or the eastern mangroves in Abu Dhabi
The one book everyone should read: 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It will make your mind fly
Favourite documentary: Chasing Coral by Jeff Orlowski. It's a good reality check about one of the most valued ecosystems for humanity

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

How to register as a donor

1) Organ donors can register on the Hayat app, run by the Ministry of Health and Prevention

2) There are about 11,000 patients in the country in need of organ transplants

3) People must be over 21. Emiratis and residents can register. 

4) The campaign uses the hashtag  #donate_hope

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

if you go

The flights

Air Astana flies direct from Dubai to Almaty from Dh2,440 per person return, and to Astana (via Almaty) from Dh2,930 return, both including taxes.

The hotels

Rooms at the Ritz-Carlton Almaty cost from Dh1,944 per night including taxes; and in Astana the new Ritz-Carlton Astana (www.marriott) costs from Dh1,325; alternatively, the new St Regis Astana costs from Dh1,458 per night including taxes.

When to visit

March-May and September-November

Visas

Citizens of many countries, including the UAE do not need a visa to enter Kazakhstan for up to 30 days. Contact the nearest Kazakhstan embassy or consulate.


The UAE Today

The latest news and analysis from the Emirates

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      The UAE Today