Grey Shades, a youth-run non-profit organisation in Chandigarh, has conceptualised ‘Grey Shades Fellowship- a 100-day programme for senior citizens’, to promote and provide a space for senior citizens to rediscover themselves and realise their full potential.
Grey Shades, which began its journey in June 2016 with the efforts of Wyonna DSouza and Inderpreet Singh, curates and conceptualises programmes, plans, workshops and modules which focus on emotional, physical, social and spiritual well-being of the elderly. For them, it started with a mission to re-establish confidence and self-esteem among senior citizens . Their first project was ‘Society for Productive Engagement and Entertainment for Elderly (SPEEE)’.
Talking about the programme, 25-year-old Wyonna Dsouza, says, “It is designed to help re-establish confidence and self-esteem among senior citizens and guide them to live their years with enthusiasm and purpose. The six-month fellowship which is free of cost, will have the group explore many aspects about themselves through activities like dance movements, art, yoga, breathing, meditation, nutrition talks for a healthy body and mind, session on growing greens, digital literacy and more importantly sharing their life’s journeys with others to open channels of communication, create bonds and value honest companionships.”
The larger idea behind the ‘fellowship’, which starts on May 1 at the Community Centre in Sector 18, Chandigarh, is to make the elderly independent and to equip them as volunteers in the society. “The programme will work towards creating a community as citizens can connect with people of their age. They can celebrate festivals, share their lives and age gracefully and independently. Life is beyond just food, clothing and shelter and we, with our pilot fellowship program, strive to enrich the lives of the elderly. This is the start of another journey,” says Inderpreet Singh.
Senior citizens from urban and semi-urban areas are struggling with loneliness because of decreased participation and limited interaction in family and society, reflects Singh. The rising number of senior citizens, nuclear families, a hectic pace of life, lack of community spaces for engagement and the digital revolution, have resulted in decreased social interactions, making the elderly vulnerable to psychological, emotional and social insecurities.
Having worked with senior citizens at old age homes, day care centres for elderly, organisations involved with their welfare, Grey Shades has designed effective workshops, activities to engage the elderly in new learning and experiences, adds DSouza.