All About Seniors is proud to present to you the story of a real-life hero who denied to accept aging as a weakness and proved that age is in fact just a number.
“My motivation is to leave behind a legacy; so that someday people can say, that a Colonel from Coimbatore thought of this concept for seniors and he is now smiling from one of the stars above!”
- When old age homes were looked down upon, we came up with the concept of Comfort and Retirement Homes.
- Even though I am only 67 years young, I have not retired!! The support I get from the seniors whom we look after and my team is what keeps me going.
- Just because one is 60 years old, it does not mean that you have to stay indoors, tend to the garden or take care of grandchildren. Now is the time for you and your spouse to enjoy without any worries. “Retire to begin life!” Take retirement from cooking!
- To constantly remind yourself that you are aging will lead to your decay. If you take up any vocation or hobby to keep the mind occupied, you will not find time hanging on you. My philosophy is “do something and keep busy.” If I have nothing to do, I walk or go to the gym, write or read.
Age is in the mind:
Honored with the Vishisht Seva Medal for distinguished service of exceptional order in the Indian Army, Colonel A Sridharan hung up his boots in 1995 due to financial constraints. A man of principles, the Colonel has always put them on the highest pedestal. He envisioned a life as an entrepreneur post-retirement and together with his utmost self-belief, he soon gave tangible shape to his dream! His journey in real estate started soon after his voluntary retirement. In 2001, at the age of 52, he gave wings to his dreams by launching Covai Properties (now Covai Care). More than a decade ago, when planned senior living was an alien concept in the country, Covai Properties introduced senior housing in 2004. Today, Covai Care is one of the biggest names in the senior living market in the southern part of the country. He is striving hard to expand and develop senior living options in India.
The journey in senior living has just begun for the Colonel. The game has just begun, in the 2nd innings of Colonel A Sridharan.
Q.1 From Army to real estate. Why did you choose to make such a drastic transition?
I had a promising career in the Army. I quit in 1995 because of the family’s requirements. I had self-belief in my abilities and my wife supported my decision.
I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Entering the real estate field was an opportunity that came my way. The man who built our house in Coimbatore wanted to give his company a professional outfit and I joined him. We did one project spread over 18 acres and it was there that I learned what real estate was all about. The company wound up because of differences among the Directors.
In December 2001, I started Covai Property Centre (I) Pvt Ltd with four men and a lady – my army! In 2004, we entered the retirement community segment. We had to break the mindset of people that retirement communities were old age homes; which were viewed as a charity for the destitute. It was not easy. Collectively, as Team Covai we learned from every failure and converted failure to success.
Q.2 You are still extremely active in business and are growing every day. What gives you the motivation to work over choosing a relaxed retired life?
I have not retired even though I am only 67 years young! Ours has been a process of evolution and it is not yet complete.
What keeps me going is the support I get from the seniors we look after and my team, whom I can bank upon. The seniors and Team Covai Care is one big Joint Family.
Age is only in the mind. Just because one is 60 years old, it does not mean that he or she has to stay indoors, tend to the garden and take care of grandchildren. My motivation is not money as I get a good pension from the Army and our children are well settled. My motivation is to leave behind a legacy so that someday people can say that a Colonel from Coimbatore thought of this concept for seniors to enjoy and he is now smiling from one of the stars above!
Q.3 This new venture would have brought new challenges for you. How did you manage to take care of your mental, physical, financial and family health?
My challenges in civil life began from the day I shed my uniform, which I wore for nearly 30 years. I had to learn and master a new vocation and execute what I learned efficiently and effectively.
My second innings has not been easy. It was full of uncertainties and challenges. While the Army trained me to remain tough physically and mentally, my family was my responsibility and I had to remove the uncertainties on that front.
I had to make adjustments with my way of thinking, functioning and had to compromise many a time but the compromise was never on ethics. I did not forget the core values imbibed in me by my parents and the Army. My wife stood by me during difficult times when the self-doubt in me used to surface. I feel grateful to God that I could fulfill my family’s requirements and enjoy each day which brought different challenges.
Q.4 What are the benefits of being active at this age?
Being active at any age makes one remain young. Inactivity may lead to boredom resulting in negative thoughts and depression which may, in turn, lead to dementia. Aging is not a disease. To constantly worry that you are aging will lead to your decay.
My philosophy is “do something and keep busy.” If I have nothing to do, I walk, go to the gym, write or read. This is how I continue learning new things every day. Activities like social work, imparting knowledge or exercising are a better choice than being a couch potato and watching serials.
Herein, the retirement communities enable a person to remain active. You have like-minded people living in the community with whom you can talk or go out for ice cream!
Q5. What are your plans ahead? What do you see yourself expanding in?
I want to make Brand Covai Care synonymous with seniors and senior living and care.
Covai Care has been associated with the creation of over 17 retirement communities. We are in the process of establishing care for PWDs (persons with disabilities) and are also looking at opportunities in setting up Geriatric Care and Polyclinics. We want to make Covai Care as a brand to reckon with in senior living and care in India.
Q.6 Is there any quote that inspires you?
I love the quote, “Nobody has died of hard work!”
One of my daughters told me, “Why to try papa!”
Nevertheless, I am still trying to work hard!
Q.7 What advice would you like to give to people who are about to enter or are in the 2nd innings of their life?
“Celebrate your age and retired life”. You have done all that you had to do – brought up your family, gave your children a good education and good life, made them stand on their feet and spent 1/3 of your life fulfilling your duties.
Now is the time for your spouse and you to enjoy without any worries. “Retire to begin life!” Take retirement from cooking! See the world. Be a part of the group with whom you can relate to, laugh and be merry. Exercise and take care of your health. Above all, do not worry about aging – all of us age! That is inevitable!
If you too are a 2nd innings hero, or know someone who’d perfectly fit into the definition, share your story with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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