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Taking care of the Parsi aged

Thursday, August 14, 2014

There are a large number of Parsis residing in Mumbai who are above the age of 70 years. Whilst most family members do care for their aged parents and grandparents showering them with love, respect and comfort but at times they are left abandoned and lonely with no financial support to fend for themselves, as their children emigrate abroad for a better life, material comfort and greener pastures.

There are two centres in Mumbai taking great care of those Parsi/Irani Zoroastrians who are unable to take care of themselves with no financial support. The Parakh Dharamsala at Khareghat Colony, Hughes Road, managed by the B.P.P. and the Parsi ward at Sir J.J. Hospital stands testimony to the great work carried out. Both these institutions are very ably run and managed by none other than Mrs. Arnavaz Mistry whose dedication, drive and zest to make the lives of these less fortunate ones more fruitful, knows no bounds. She personally visits the wards, interacts with the inmates to ensure that there is nothing lacking to make their lives decent and comfortable. As Trustee of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet, she has numerous tasks to carry ahead but still manages her time to look after the two wards.

The J.J. Parsi Ward is situated in one of the annexes of the vast J.J. Hospital complex. There are 45 aged Parsis staying there out of which 27 are men and 18 ladies with a waiting list of 30. What is most unique about this ward is that it is not just an old age home where residents are sent o hospitals or asked to leave when they fall ill. Here at J.J. ward, the community’s breath, who are always in diapers, the ones who can walk only with help, the aged afflicted with Alzheimer's and Dimentia (memory loss) are well looked after till their last breach - free of cost.

There are nurses, ayahs and ward boys to take care of these aged residents. Moreover, the rooms are clean, airy, colourfully painted and adorned with bright curtains. There is no stench of urine, the bathrooms are spotless and the whole environment speaks volumes of the untiring efforts of Arnavaz to make the inmates feel that they are in their own home and not in any aged  home. They feel cheerful, wanted and well-cared for. Her 27 years of dedication have slowly and steadily brought about a vast improvement and transformation in the wards. In her endeavour, she is ably assisted and helped by two dedicated and helpful women - Zarine Havewala and Hutoxi Dadabhoy and by her own daughter Yasmin who is her greatest support. What is most laudable is the fact that while the J.J. Charities under Sir Jamsetjee Jeebhoy provide for lunch and other expenses, Arnavaz, through her own trust pays for the diners, physiotherapy medicine, salaries of the ayahs, ward boys and maintenance of the ward. Relatives of those residents who can afford to donate along with other donors are always extending their largesse. Arnavaz, keep the torch burning, the Parsi community needs more like you.

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