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For elderly living alone, lockdown brings challenges

The outbreak and the nation-wide lockdown has resulted in similar stories being shared by several people about their aged parents who don’t live with them.

Written by Somya Lakhani | New Delhi | Updated: March 31, 2020 1:12:38 am
coronavirus, coronavirus senior citizens, coronavirus counselling, coronavirus impact on senior citizens, coronavirus India news The police’s senior citizen cell has been helping out

With their five children spread across Delhi, Jammu and Canada, Hardev Singh Malhotra (90) and Motia Rani Malhotra (80) find themselves alone, in the time of the COVID-19 outbreak, in Punjab’s Patiala. Their son, Dr Rajesh Malhotra, a radiologist in Delhi, said: “While neighbours and the Punjab government are helping senior citizens and other vulnerable groups with essential items… what worries me is how I will reach them if they fall sick.”

The outbreak and the nation-wide lockdown has resulted in similar stories being shared by several people about their aged parents who don’t live with them.

In Delhi’s Dilshad Garden, J K Arora (91) lives alone. While his kitchen is well-stocked for now, after much insistence by his children who are spread across the city, his daughter Arun (60), who lives a few kilometres away, wonders what will happen when he runs out of groceries. Follow Coronavirus in India LIVE Updates

“My father is very active, he goes to the market to buy groceries and milk… He had no help at home even before the pandemic but now he can’t step out at all. Thankfully, his neighbours are reliable and will help but there is still some anxiety,” she said.

In a Noida high-rise recently, 60-year-old Anil Sinha’s order for diabetes and blood pressure medicines was stopped at the gate — he got them only after a few days. “We can’t go outside, so we rely on delivery services. But RWAs are creating problems… hope it’s resolved soon,” he said.

Meanwhile, many like Ali Manzoor (25), who is studying in Delhi, took to Twitter to inquire from the Delhi Police about curfew passes to help him reach his ailing mother in UP’s Rampur.

Also Read | Vadodara police sets up counselling team for senior citizens

In Northwest Delhi’s Ashok Vihar, Subhash Kakkar (71) and his wife, who live alone, rely on delivery services or neighbours.

Apart from this, Head Constable Uddhav (48), too, calls them every alternate day to inquire if they need anything, as the couple is enrolled with the Delhi Police’s senior citizen cell. Kakkar said, “He calls and even visits, asks us if we require anything — dal, vegetables, medicines, masks. So far, we’ve not needed his help but when we do, he will be the first person we will call.”

Of the 45 senior citizens in his area, Uddhav has visited 40 in the past week. “Most live alone; their children call me to ensure they’re safe… Recently, I received a call from the son of a senior citizen who said his mother wasn’t taking his calls, so I rushed there and made her talk to the son.”

In North Delhi’s Civil Lines, SHO Pradeep has 114 senior citizens under his watch, including two sisters, aged 81 and 87. “They have nurses who live with them. We got a call that a specific medicine for one of the sisters has to bought from Dilli Gate… A policeman was sent to buy it and give it to the sisters,” he said.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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