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Monk Retirement Home


Ven K. Siridhamma was informed of a temple in Sri Lanka that took in aged monks who had no place to go to. These are monks in need of a place where they could spend their twilight years and maybe receive some palliative care.


Ven K. Siridhamma felt that this was a noble cause worthy of support and in his last trip to Sri Lanka, made arrangements to visit the Amilasiri Temple in Polgahalawela. It was established that the Chief Monk there came across an old monk who had just been discharged from hospital and was lost as to where to go. This Chief Monk found that the old monk had nowhere to go so invited him to stay over at the Amilasiri Temple.


From that moment on, the need was identified and the Amilasiri Temple now has 30 monks of age ranging from 55 to until recently, 102 years. This old monk passed away just last week.



Observations during the visit on 24th April 2011

A few monks there are bed-ridden and need to have their bed-sheets changed very regularly. This was actually the main appeal that Ven Siridhamma got wind of before the visit.


However, from the visit, it was evident that the temple had
adequate grounds to cater comfortably to the number of monks staying there, which included 20 young monks.
The main quarters was furnished with donated hospital beds and accommodated 12. The newest wing accommodates 9 and this wing was lacking in basic appliances such as fans.

The toilet and bathroom facilities being at the back had an access which was not paved and would pose a danger to anyone in the dark, regardless of age or agility.

Those with limited mobility were left sitting on the beds as pushing a wheel chair would be a challenge without proper paths and ramps.
Meals were mostly served in the main shrine which doubles as the dining hall unless there was a function. Then the dining tables would be relocated to the corridors of the main residence.

A library is being set up in a building located about 300m away from the monks quarters and access is via a partially concreted road and a laterite road which slopes down to the library building. Its location makes visits to the library accessible only to the physically adequate.


There is a lack of activity to keep the monks occupied or their minds stimulated.



Role of the K Sri Dhammananda Foundation

The Foundation would like to assist the Amilasiri Temple to provide better care for the aged monks through a series of programmes.


The main objectives of these programmes are:-

·         Provide a safer, healthier and more comfortable environment for the aged monks

·         Increase the level of healthcare, both curative and palliative

·         Provide activities to re-instate dignity to the monks

·         Increase the capacity of the temple to house monks


Improvements to the Environment

As per the appeal, the immediate supply of used bed-sheets will be initiated.


The Foundation will undertake to install 2 ceiling fans and 2 extractor fans at the newest wing and install 3 TVs, one at each wing.


It will look into getting piped water supply to the bathrooms and toilets.


Access to the bathrooms and other wings will also be looked into.


A kuti with proper access would be a welcome addition as it will provide a more conducive environment for the monks to reflect and meditate.



The Foundation is studying how a medical team can do monthly rounds to check on the monks. This will include physiotherapy and dental care.


To increase and sustain a higher level of healthcare, it is important for the primary care-givers, in this case the young monks, some training on cleanliness, understanding of the need for isolation when there is case of infection, some basic techniques used in physiotherapy and even the use of monitors such as thermometers, blood sugar and blood pressure monitors, and keeping these records.


A process of checking the vital signs should be incorporated as early detection is always an advantage.



There are sufficient grounds to have activities that can be productive as well as uplifting. The Foundation is looking towards programmes which will include the creation of vegetable and fruit gardens.

Outdoor activities such as scheduled stretching exercises and walks are to be encouraged. A reflexology walkpath is being considered as it will also enhance the landscape of the environment. These activities are aimed at giving more meaning to the daily existence of the monks who have spent their lives serving the community.


Increasing Capacity

This has yet to be discussed with the Amilasiri Temple but the Foundation would be keen to embark on a longer-term project whereby it can re-build the quarters firstly to improve the effectiveness of the care-givers and at the same time cater to a higher number of monks.


A common area that can be used for dining as well as indoor activities would be beneficial to the monks as it can encourage greater public interaction. The shrine then need not be used as a make-shift dining area and return its use for religious functions.



The Foundation is putting a budget of LKR50,000 to kick-start assistance to the Amilasiri Temple and will look at fund-raisers as well as donations in kind and service to implement the programmes planned. The Foundation is confident that these improvements will benefit more the aged monks as well as the care-givers, hence a project worthy of support.