Lockdown puts the spotlight on the concept of community living 

Elderly can avail all facilities inside such homes 
Migrant labourers lining up for food being distributed by city police in Kochi | Albin Mathew
Migrant labourers lining up for food being distributed by city police in Kochi | Albin Mathew

KOCHI: At a time when the coronavirus-induced lockdown has rendered several of us and our grandparents anxious and helpless, a group of senior citizens continue to live their best life, in high spirits. Knowing that the elderly are susceptible to Covid-19, caretakers of many old-age homes have taken further measures to protect them during the phase.

This includes restricting several outdoor activities. But ask Dr Madhavi Ramachandran, a resident of Bless Retirement Living, a retirement home which promotes the concept of community living in Kochi, she will say that she has no complaints.

“I arrived at Bless a few days after the lockdown as it was rather difficult to manage our (husband’s and hers) daily routine all by ourselves. When we arrived, our temperatures were checked. Precautionary measures are taken. There’s adequate staff available to take care of all your needs. Everything just automatically fell into place. Simultaneously, we can go for walks in the area that we’re confined to and there are a host of activities we can take part in,” she says.

A pandemic-like situation often makes one realise the importance of such retirement homes and community living, especially when the elderly can avail of such an atmosphere. “The lockdown has affected everyone; especially older people. The support system they have received in the form of home nurses and relatives isn’t available now. In such gated communities, they have constant guidance, regular medical support and therapeutic activities to ensure that they do not slip into anxiety or depression. Life pre and post lockdown is almost similar, except that they can’t venture out completely,” said Babu Joseph, chairman, Bless Retirement Living, who stresses on the option and benefits of community living in such scenarios.

Jesmine George, a counsellor with Kudumbashree, said that they regularly check on the senior citizens registered under the ‘Calling Bell’ programme -- those who primarily live alone and are unaware about the concept of community living. “Health workers in our neighbourhood groups procure medicines and required materials for such people. They’re provided food via the ward councillors. Also, the senior citizens often tend to check on each other,” she said.

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