When a person retires, a new stage of life begins. In some ways its good, as it gives the senior time to relax, live without deadlines and pursue their hobbies and interests. But at the same time, a life without a regular routine or idleness starts worrying them as the days pass by. Having a purpose can add life to the years of aging parents. With retirement often our elderly parents suffer from a sense of role-lessness, which further adds on problems like isolation, depression, withdrawal and other health issues.
Why do we paint? …We paint to communicate an idea and to express ourselves. Just as the physical body requires certain nutrients to survive, so does the human soul. Painting, like other arts, is therapeutic. Through expression, it helps in emotional release. This leads to a general sense of relief and over all better mental health. Several studies show that art can reduce depression and anxiety.
The hectic pace of today’s 24-hour lifestyle may be wreaking even more havoc on our health than we realize. It also leaves us with limited time to care for our ageing parents.
I am Kritika and I work with seniors who have a condition called dementia, which is marked by memory loss and difficulties in thinking, problem solving and language. I would like to share an experience here, so that other people in a similar situation can learn from it.
Respect, acceptance and love are important in every relationship. This is specially true when dealing with an elderly who has dementia. Acceptance of their condition, and being patient and respectful with them is crucial, as it has a significant impact on their condition and personality.
The computer classes at Samvedna Senior Centre are a big hit with our members. From grand dads to great grand moms we have a whole generation of seniors coming to our centre for the computer classes. Seniors want to learn computers for various reasons, while for some it is a learning experience for others it is a way of staying in touch with their families and friends.
For the slightly younger seniors learning computers is important so that they can enable themselves technically for second careers and also setup their business online.
Geriatrics, being a niche field, was not a part of our psychology course curriculum in college. So while studying I didn’t get much of an opportunity to understand the psyche of people above 60. Like most students, I too was inclined to work with people struggling with addiction or Autism.
As a part of our monthly outing program, Samvedna Activity Centre members and staff decided to spread joy and love by visiting an old age home for the less privileged in Mehrauli, and celebrating the festival of lights with them.
We received a warm welcome by the residents of the home. Initially our hosts were a little reserved but with time they developed a comfort level with us and started participating in the activities we had planned. We exchanged stories, and sang and danced together.
The two major festivals of North India are Holi and Diwali. My favorite was of course holi because of the fun with colors and the freedom to play with elders without restriction. Diwali was the next favorite. It was most for all for the great sweets made by my mother (quite an occasion).
Colorful lamps lit through the nightfall, crackers rocket the sky, people exchange gifts and happiness. Diwali is a festival of fervor and celebration. Family members gather to celebrate this auspicious festival together. It is the time to seek blessings from the most important members of our family. For all the blessings our elderly shower on us we should also show our love and respect for them.
We at Samvedna are running a campaign #SpendDiwaliWithElders to start a movement to encourage people to spend this Diwali with their elders, and make that extra effort to make them feel special.
Join us in spreading this message by participating in the #SpendDiwaliWithElders contest.