HT City spotlight: Giving back love to the elderly
The elderly battle the demons of loneliness, anxiety and depression. During times of isolation, fear and uncertainty due to coronavirus, these feelings have heightened.Updated: May 21, 2020 20:43 IST
Lockdown or no lockdown, the elderly battle the demons of loneliness, anxiety and depression. And in times of isolation, fear and uncertainty due to coronavirus, these feelings have heightened. But it’s heartening that young people all over the world have been putting a smile on their faces. Whether, it is Burak Soylu delivering goodies to elderly who are in self-quarantine in Turkey or Paige Okray, a 10-year old girl from Riverside, who pieced together a shower curtain with arm slots so she could hug her grandparents, youngsters are trying their best to help old people wade through this pandemic.
Kanika Khosla, psychologist, says, “ Whatever little social activities old people had with others such as morning walks, laughter club, yoga, just sitting in the sun with others of their age came to a halt with the lockdown.” She adds,” However this is not the time to sulk. Zoom calls can get old people to talk and see their friends, family members and grand-kids. Even balcony meets are a great idea. Multi-stories have an advantage and people can easily host tea parties and chat with their neighbours via their respective balconies.”
Karan Verma, author and motivational speaker, says, “To the young and spirited out there, our elderly people have weathered many storms but even for them this is one of its kind. It becomes the duty of young people to assuage the fears of the seniors. ‘Social distancing’ shouldn’t come in way of human connection. This is the time when you connect even more strongly with them.”
Karan advises the elderly to use this time to practise gratitude and count their blessings. He adds, “This is the stage for them to bring forth all the experience and wisdom that they have acquired and tell themselves repeatedly that -‘this too shall pass’. Be cautious and grateful every single day and keep smiling because when this corona carnage is over, we all would come out stronger, better and also much closer as a big global family.”
As the novel coronavirus continues to upend lives around the world, technology has come to the rescue of senior citizens whose kids are staying abroad or in other cities. A 16-year old boy in New York, Jordan Mittler got about two dozen seniors to set up a video conferencing app so that they could connect to loved ones.
Across the world, people have been trying to reach out to seniors in innovative ways. In France, One Letter, One Smile initiative has been connecting people who want to write letters to the elderly across Europe. They have been sending letters of hope and happiness to those suffering from depression amid the lockdown. Letters have become a ray of sunshine for these senior citizens in these countries.
The new normal for some time will be the sight of a loved one’s pixelated face on a phone or the computer screen. And maybe — after enough days have passed — a few chairs could be set up in a cosy living room, and a grandmother and a granddaughter can safely speak to one another from a distance.