On any given Wednesday at the Yayasan Ria Pembangunan care home for the elderly, on the outskirts of Jakarta, you\’ll find 78-year-old Sisi Sihombing participating in a gentle exercise routine with her friends, in an attempt to keep her body fit and her mind active.
Dozens of elderly residents take part in this keep-fit workout. It\’s an energetic way to ward off the loneliness that old age can sometimes bring.
Most of them live in this charitable institution because they do not have families to look after them. Some pay a subsidised fee to live here, while others are accommodated thanks to the generosity of donations.
Mrs Sihombing one of the few residents with close family living nearby – but this sprightly grandmother of seven made the unusual decision to move here voluntarily, after her husband died.
\ »I didn\’t want to be a burden to my children,\ » she tells me in her small dorm, decorated with photographs of her grandchildren.
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Our neighbours thought it was our decision that Mama had moved out – that we had kicked her out ”
Sisi Sihombing\’s daughter
\ »They have families of their own and have to live their own lives – that\’s why I decided it was time to move here.\ »