Stories of love from senior care homes, where a few mothers live with adult children who have mental health disorders
Loving in silence
On August 18, 2020, Amma, 75, and Babu, 55, (names concealed to protect privacy) moved into Daari Deepa Old Age Home at Krishnapura Doddi near Husanahalli, Karnataka. “Mother and son were saved from the street and brought to our home in a very poor condition,” recounts Kavitha Rao, the founder secretary of the senior care home.
“When we fed them, the mother fed her son first, then she ate. Even though the mother has psychosis, she doesn’t need someone to tell her she should love and care for her son,” she says. Babu, who has a more severe form of psychosis, staying silent most of the time, has no recollection of his life before being impacted by the disease.
Kavitha feels he looks out for her though, in a way that cannot be explained. It’s a shared sense of togetherness possible only through mutual understanding and love. In fact, whenever sweets are brought to the home, the mother saves a part of hers for her son, even though he’ll get his own share.
Walking the talk
Bhavya Gowda, a Humanitarian Hands Home staff nurse, based in Bangalore, talks about a bond between a mother and son duo in the senior care home. “Walking is something they do every day, and they’ve never skipped it to date,” she says, adding that they’re barely in their room, but out walking. Chandra, 55, and Kamala, 91, stay at different wards of the home, so they figured this was a good way of spending time together. In addition, they both enjoy watching movies on television.
Bhavya says, “When they see any mom-son character on TV soap operas, they jokingly comment on each other, gesticulating towards one another.” Since Chandra has psychosis, Kamala keeps a close eye on him. Kamala says with a shaky voice when we asked if her son did anything for her out of our love, “My son is with me; that’s enough for me.”
Holding love in small ways
Satya, 70, and Lokesh, 28, ( (names changed to protect privacy) at Daari Deepa Old Age Home, mainly sit in silent communion in the prayer hall. They break only to do a few chores, the mother bathing her son who has psychosis and type 1 diabetes. She herself has diabetes and high blood pressure. All that the care home knows about them is that they lived in Bhuhalli, Karnataka, and came here in 2015 to receive medical support.
They are mostly quiet. “It’s almost as though they’ve forgotten their memories,” Kavitha Rao, the head of the home explains. But mother and son always eat together and care for each other in the tiny, everyday tasks they perform for each other. “They stick together in the face of adversity, which is a beautiful show of love,” Kavitha says.