From 2009 to 2013, Ravindra Kadam was a health official of the police department’s senior citizen helpline at MHB police station in Borivali.
He used to frequently visit senior citizens living alone and help them allay their fears. He also used to attend to them as an acupuncturist, for which he was trained in 2009.
“I decided to get involved in this initiative because the elderly live alone and sometimes need help. What better way to give back to the community? I was very keen on working with the elderly after the (Mumbai police) helpline for senior citizens was launched,” says Kadam. He was trained by the Mumbai police to counsel the elderly and the Mumbai Sujok Lions Club provided acupuncture training to him and other officers.
Kadam would tend to a host of complaints from the elderly, from joint pains to stress and anxiety. He used his skills as an acupuncturist to calm them down. The job was not easy, says Kadam. Some patients were too scared to open their doors to let him in. “One woman was so scared she would refuse to let me into her house. So, I told her to open the door half-way and speak to me through it. It was very different than anything I was used to, but I did help her out.”
As an acupuncturist, he used a ring to help calm patients. “The ring helps improve blood circulation by opening up blood vessels. This reduces stress and eases movement. Senior citizens find it especially helpful,” he says. “One of my patients could not walk properly and was paranoid. After giving her this ring, she was much calmer, happier and physically active,” says Kadam. “That was one of the happiest moments of my life.”
Although he has now been promoted to sub-inspector and transferred to another police station, he still answers distress calls from senior citizens and attends to them as best as he can. “Helping senior citizens makes me happy, which is why I try to help out whenever possible. Sometimes, a phone call makes a huge difference to one’s life. I learned so much from the elderly. After each visit, I was able to learn a different technique on how to approach a problem and comfort an individual. It was eye-opening.”
The four years he spent at MHB police station between 2009 and 2013, he says, were his best. “Looking back at my 36-year career, those four years were the ones I loved the most. Those years are the reason I got promoted. The affection I received from people was immense,” says Kadam.