Seniors at retirement homes have “lonely” new routine due to Covid crisis
Retirement homes across the city have a different current routine due to the Covid crisis. Visitors are not allowed and donations have dropped.
“Not only donations, but weekend visitors - relatives or school/college students – are not allowed to visit. Senior citizens used to enjoy the presence of students as they used to celebrate birthdays - playing games and sharing fruits and cakes. All activities have stopped now,” says Ramesh Devkule, manager of the Matoshree home in Karve nagar.
Even though most of the homes are run by trusts, donations play a big role in the upkeep.
“Earlier, people used to come forward and donate. Now due to a financial crunch, they have stopped. And we cannot ask because of the Covid crisis,” said Devkule.
Fewer visitors have left the senior citizens restless.
“But for a few months, this year we have not played any games with students. With colleges and schools shut, many are not visiting the homes,” says an inmate at Matoshree, requesting anonymity.
“We have a capacity of 100 people, but now we only have 74 inmates. Management has restricted new entries currently. We make sure all 74 live a healthy and safe life,” said Devkule.
Video chat for relatives
Management does organise video chat sessions for relatives.
“We have strictly moved to video meetings. Earlier, it was hard for senior citizens, but now they are getting used to technology. Still, most enjoy physical meetings and we will resume once the situation becomes normal,” said Ravindra Marathe, trustee of Niwara home in Sadashiv peth.
The homes have made sure that all the seniors get their vaccinations, since most are above the age of 60.
“Currently, we have only 15 senior citizens and all have got their vaccination done. We had informed their relatives and completed the procedure. None of the seniors have faced any health problem due to Covid-19 as of now,” said Arvind Maklur, manager of Anand Dham on Apte road.