Afamily is busy preparing for their son’s wedding and there is animated discussion on what needs to be done. The boy’s grandfather, 75, is unable to hear the conversation. When he tries to ask his son what is happening, he is rudely asked to stay quiet and told that everything will be explained to him later. On being repeatedly rebuked, the man withdraws into a corner and isolates himself from the conversation.

In another scene, the man is heard out patiently by his son, who then asks him for his suggestions on the venue for the wedding, the guest list and includes him in the decision-making process. Both were scenarios playacted by volunteers of Parivu, a recently launched Senior Citizens’ Society, but every one was aware that the former was a reflection of reality in many families.

The playacting was part of their first training session, conducted at the G. Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital on how to communicate effectively with the elderly.

The session also included demonstrations on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) techniques, dealing with epileptic seizures and moving the frail and old from the bed to an ambulance, during an emergency.

The volunteers, who ranged from college professionals to retired teachers and income tax officers, quizzed the medical specialists with several questions.

For the youngest member, a college student, this session cleared a lot of misconceptions.

“I used to think that a patient suffering from an epileptic fit should be given water or an iron rod to hold onto. I now learnt that this can in fact be harmful. I will also learn to deal with my grandmother more patiently, and include her in our day-to-day conversations,” said R. Kowshik, a third year engineering student from Sri Ramakrishna Engineering College.

For others, the session allowed them to break the ice with other volunteers and be part of a rewarding experience.

“The best part about the training was that it was interactive, which allowed us to get to know the other volunteers better. Being part of this society will also serve us better as we enter old age,” said Lalitha Ramachandran, a middle-aged volunteer.

Parivu is looking for more volunteers. To register as a volunteer, call 8098209090 or send an e-mail to parivucoimbatore