Gurugram’s Silver Oaks puts needs of the elderly first amid the lockdown
Coronavirus Update: The entry of part-time domestic help, drivers, gardeners, and car cleaners among others in Gurugram’s Silver Oaks condominium has been barred since March 17 with some exceptions such as those assisting the elderly.Updated: Apr 04, 2020 17:40 IST
One of Gurugram’s oldest condominiums, Silver Oaks, in Sector 26 has adopted an elderly-first strategy as part of its plan to stop the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19). While almost 50% of the residents at Silver Oaks Apartments are senior citizens, who are at a high risk of contracting the infection, the condominium is exercising special caution to keep them safe and has formed a volunteer network to cater to the needs of the elderly.
Tariq Raza, president, Silver Oaks Condominium Association, said a team of volunteers had been constituted to look after the needs of elderly residents. “ Children of many senior citizens don’t live with them here. We are being extra careful about such people so that they don’t face any trouble. We have appointed volunteers to take care of senior citizens with health conditions. The volunteers ensure that in the absence of domestic help senior citizens do not face difficulty of any kind,” Raza said.
The condominium has been under lockdown since March 17 and has restricted the entry of all outsiders. The entry of part-time domestic help, drivers, gardeners, and car cleaners among others has been barred with some exceptions such as those assisting the elderly. While delivery of vegetables, groceries, and medical supplies by e-commerce outlets is allowed til the entrance gates, agents of food delivery services such as Zomato and Swiggy are not allowed into the condominium.
Out of the 15 gates, entry and exit of residents is allowed only through four gates since the condominium went into lockdown three weeks ago. “Unlike other condominiums in the city that have only have one or two gates, Silver Oaks has 15 gates. We have closed all gates except four and these gates are being manned by guards. Social distancing is our priority at the moment and unless absolutely necessary, all movements have been curtailed,” said Raza.
Residents are required to collect deliveries of essential goods from the gate. All persons entering the building are required to use hand sanitisers at the gates. The management has placed tissues the lifts which can be used by people for pressing the buttons without directly touching them.Hand sanitisers have also been placed at the entrance of various towers. The condominium has also roped in the services of a professional service that disinfects and sanitises the towers, lobbies, and lifts after every three days.
The condominium has reduced the strength of the essential staff by half to cut down exposure from the outside world. The rest of the staff has been given accommodation inside the complex. Mask and disposable gloves have also been given to security guards and housekeepers. Prior to the lockdown, residents had been advised to give paid leaves to all domestic help
“About 25%-50% of the staff that lives within premises is on duty. They do not step outside and hence there is no fear of exposure for anyone of us. We have provided the staff with bedding and given them allowances for food. They stay here and cook,” said Rupali Jain, general secretary, Silver Oaks RWA ( resident welfare association).
Jain said a vegetable vendor runs a store within the society and caters to the everyday needs of people. the residents buy other groceries and essential items from Qutub Plaza which is located in close proximity to the complex. “ The vegetable vendor and staff within the premises have been made aware of the need of practicing social distancing. They keep reminding people to abide by distancing norms while purchasing items. People are asked to stay at a distance of 6 feet from each other. They can only enter the shop one at a time,” said Jain.
While the condominium had a strong volunteer network in place to cater to residents, the functioning of the network will have to be streamlined more if the lockdown is extended, Jain added. “We have issued 35 critical care passes to part-time helpers for senior citizens. However, some domestic helpers have stopped coming to the society in light of the pandemic. If the situation persists, the volunteers will have to take more responsibility and deal with the situation. We can work on arranging food or ensure that one volunteer is attached to one senior citizen if the lockdown is extended,” she said.