Lockdown: No one to talk to or laugh with, Mohali senior citizens feel they are in jail
More than 1,000 senior citizens living alone in Mohali left to fend for themselvesUpdated: Mar 31, 2020 01:01 IST
For the last 10 days, after people were advised to stay indoors to prevent Covid-19 transmission, 87-year-old Manmohan Singh has not laughed, smiled or talked to anyone. “I feel I am in jail looking at the four walls of the room,” says the man who has lived on his own in the city for the last 15 years. Though a domestic helper looks after him he does not have a single family member to share these difficult times with.
The curfew is taking its toll on senior citizens living alone in the city, many of them unable to meet people or step outside to buy groceries, left entirely dependent on the administration or their welfare associations for help.
According to the list of Mohali Senior Citizens’ Association, nearly 1,000 elderly people out of 2,200 are living alone. For them, the mandatory preventive measure of social distancing comes with its own challenges even as they struggle with loneliness, restricted mobility and lack of financial security.
“We regularly call seniors who live alone and need help to get essential supplies. We also try to keep them occupied by helping them play games such as Sudoku on their mobile phones. Though the administration has appointed a nodal officer of the rank of superintendent of police for senior citizens, and he is working hard, it’s difficult to reach every individual,” said Swaran Chaudhary, president of the association.
Ravjot Singh, 68, who also lives on his own, says things are not easy for him. “I have been asking for help to get fruits and other items at numbers issued by the administration but have not got any response. I had to request my friends for medicines and they could only manage to get them for me after two days. This loneliness is killing me. My children are in Canada. Now I am completely dependent on my mobile phone.”
Things are not so bad for Jagmohan Singh, 80, who lives on his own in Phase-5. He has enough supplies for now and family and friends call up twice a day to check on him. However, he gets anxious thinking about the days ahead. “If they keep imposing more and more restrictions, I don’t know how we will manage.” As someone who loves socialising, Singh says the toughest part of the curfew is being confined at home.