A security guard offers hand sanitizer to a resident Rail Vihar Sector 47 during lockdown, in Gurugram(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)
A security guard offers hand sanitizer to a resident Rail Vihar Sector 47 during lockdown, in Gurugram(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)

Senior citizens a high priority for Rail Vihar residents

Senior citizens can call up any of the volunteers for help to procure not only consumables, such as dairy products and groceries, but also medicines, at any time of the day.
By Sharanya Munsi, Gurugram
UPDATED ON APR 24, 2020 06:55 AM IST

To help senior citizens, particularly those living alone, procure daily essentials residents of Rail Vihar in Sector 47 have set up a dedicated team. The team of volunteers delivers their daily requirements to their doorsteps.

Senior citizens can call up any of the volunteers for help to procure not only consumables, such as dairy products and groceries, but also medicines, at any time of the day. The team of 10, mostly members of the residents’ welfare association (RWA), also call up seniors from time to time to check their requirements.

“They have been informed that they can reach out to any of us for help in getting essential items. We have advised them against stepping out, as they are the most vulnerable to the disease,” said RK Sharma, the president of the RWA.

Sharma said that neighbours of senior citizens, when they step out to stock up, are also helping in the procurement of essential items.

Girish Bhatnagar, 70, who lives with his wife, said, “The society is providing assistance to seniors who are living alone. There must be around six such residents like us. When we have deliveries at the gate, the society deputes someone to drop the supply to our apartment so that we don’t need to step out. Also, when they buy gloves and masks, some are given to us. Sometimes, we place our orders on WhatsApp at the shop inside the complex and pay through PayTM. The owner drops off the items after he closes his shop, at the end of the day.”

He adds that since the lockdown happened, the couple have caught up on indoor exercises, including ‘pranayama’ (breathing exercises).

The society, which has 300 families, has cut down the number of staff on the premises to four, responsible for cleaning, maintenance and housekeeping. Sanitisation drives have been carried out twice in the complex, with the help of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram.

At the gate, the society has placed sanitisers and provided masks to all employees. Unable to procure an infrared thermometer, the society has placed a digital thermometer with the guards to measure temperatures of those suspected to have a fever. “We were unable to get a thermal gun due to stocks running low. So, we have given the guards a digital thermometer, to be used on those suspected of running a high temperature,” said Sharma.

The residency has restricted all deliveries to the entry gate, from where residents pick them up. Residents receive alerts about the same on a shared app. The RWA has also placed three to four tables outside its gate for delivery executives to drop off their packages.

Entry of visitors has also been suspended since the lockdown was imposed. Household helps have also been directed to suspend work, except for those helping senior citizens and those needing constant assistance. “In some cases, we have allowed the helpers to stay with the seniors, if it is a necessary support for them,” said Amrish Kumar, secretary of the RWA.

The society decided to close its clubhouse and park even before the lockdown, to prevent large gatherings. The RWA, through a circular, also asked residents to stop taking walks. However, a few residents have resumed taking walks, albeit in different time slots, said Sharma. “The park was closed about the time the MCG sealed the others,” said Alok Goel, who has been residing here for 11 years.

The society has one grocery shop on its premises complex. Residents can place their orders in advance through WhatsApp and collect the same after payment. “We have one shop that caters to our essential needs. When shopping, we ensure social distancing and use of masks by everyone,” said Kumar.

When the lockdown began, the society decided to contribute food packets to be distributed by third parties in slums. Families were directed to provide two packets, each, on Wednesday and Saturday. However, over time, the initiative has dwindled, said Sharma.

“We had informed residents that the food packets would be collected from 10-11 am. Tables were set up for residents to place their food packets. At its peak, we collected 80-150 packets. After the lockdown extension, we saw little interest in the initiative and so, we stopped it last Saturday,” said Sharma.

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