The elderly in the city have a host of activities to keep them occupied and remain active, courtesy the recreation centres for senior citizens.
A government initiative for the welfare of the elderly in the city, the number of such centres has gone up from 56 in 2009 to 79 in 2012. An increasing number of senior citizens flock to such centres to be among friends, play indoor games, catch up on on the latest news and events and exchange notes.
"My children have a life of their own and I can't expect them to change their schedules for me. One of my friends told me about the recreation centre. This week we are going to celebrate one of our friend's birthday. I no longer feel bored or unwanted now. My children are also happy with it," said Ajay Kohli, 63, a regular at the recreation centre in Malviya Nagar.
There 18 such centres are in south Delhi and officials stress the importance of such centres by pointing out the rising number of the elderly.
"Senior citizens no longer want to stay locked up in their homes. They don't want to feel unwanted. These recreation centres provide them an avenue to indulge in various activities that might not be possible in their homes such as playing games, go out on excursions, etc," said a senior Delhi government official.
"One of the reasons behind growth of the recreation centres is the fact that a number of senior citizens feel lonely as their children get busy with their own lives," said JR Gupta, chairperson of Confederation of Senior Citizens Association of Delhi.
These centres are run by registered senior citizen associations and are provided grant by the Delhi government. "A one-time grant of R75,000 is provided to organisations that have space where they can put up chairs, tables, cupboards, television, indoor game, etc. Another R20,000 is provided for covering operational expenses, which includes salary of the attendants, rent and for organising tours, health camps/yoga camps," said Kiran Walia, minister for social welfare, Delhi government.