To find relief in the prolonged lockdown and the monotony that it brings about, several senior citizens are engaging in various activities, to keep themselves busy. These include video calls with their loved ones, finding more time to read, listening to music and watching movies, as well as meditation and walks to keep up.
“I spend my mornings with street dogs that I feed on a regular basis. Otherwise, I listen to the radio or engage in evening conversations with residents of my society, while maintaining a safe distance,” says 68-year-old Nauzer Irani, a resident of Lullanagar, describing his routine during the lockdown. He adds that while the frustration seeps in due to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, he hopes things will be better soon.
Satya Mani, 74, says, “Our days start with us finishing small chores around the house. We get plenty help from the people in our society. I spend my time reading or in the kitchen, while my husband extensively reads articles on science and technology on his phone. We also video call our children and grandchildren. I am worried about my two sons, who live in New Jersey and Michigan, as the situation in the USA is grim.”
Her husband, G S Mani says he applauds the government and the local administration bodies for their efforts. “I have been a critic over the years but they have done a good job to control the situation. I hope now, people will listen too, so that we come out of this soon,” says the 78-year-old.
Meanwhile, residents of Sneh Sawali-Aapla Ghar, an old age home under Shri Shankar Maharaj Seva Mandal, Chinchwad, occupy themselves with walks, board games, watching movies and the daily telecast of the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. “The residents keep each other company and we made them understand the gravity of the situation. While for some it was not an issue, for the ones who are more socially active and extroverted, the lockdown comes as a restriction. But with various activities, they keep themselves engrossed while we look after their health and wellbeing,” says Dr Avinash Vaidya, a consultant pathologist and chairperson of the old age home.
With close to 1,600 residential units in five cities and nine locations across south India under the management, #TheLivingRoom, a digital initiative by Columbia Pacific Communities, has seen senior citizens in these communities host talk shows with experts and luminaries from diverse fields via Facebook Live.
Mohit Nirula, CEO, Columbia Pacific Communities, says they had taken several measures to keep senior citizens informed about facts related to the pandemic.
#TheLivingRoom is a series of 40-minute Facebook Live sessions, which gives senior citizens access to interact with stalwarts, experts, professionals and popular personalities. As part of the series, Columbia Pacific Communities has already roped in comedian Anubav Pal, medical expert Dr Mahesh Mylarappa, cricket commentator Charu Sharma, as well as actor, filmmaker and activist Nandita Das and veteran actor Kabir Bedi.
“This is a good initiative to talk to experts and actually be able to ask them about their work and advice on how to cope with and make constructive use of this lockdown,” says 71-year-old S Gowrishankar from Serene Idigarai by Columbia Pacific Communities