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In an old age home in Chennai, stories of hope and recovery

A resident of the home who battled COVID-19 and recovered

A resident of the home who battled COVID-19 and recovered   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Residents who tested positive for COVID-19 at an old age home, speak of their experience in battling the virus

It was sheer courage and self-confidence that helped 90-year-old Chandra Govind, 77-year-old N. Nirmala and seven other residents of an old age home on East Coast Road, recover from the COVID-19 infections they had contracted.

The home houses 42 residents, many of them retired Central and State government employees, and each one has an individual room. Of the total residents, nine tested COVID-19 positive -- two in their nineties, one above 80, five in their seventies and one in the fifties.

It began two weeks ago, when a 78-year-old resident of the home tested positive for COVID-19. Later the nurse in the home who attended to him, also tested positive. Soon, others also tested positive.

“When we were taken for the test to the hospital, I felt a shiver go down my spine. But after I tested positive, I mustered the courage to see it through,” says Ms. Nirmala who has been living in the home for the past three years. Ms. Nirmala retired as a headmistress in a school in Bengaluru. “I used to meet government officials and handle crisis situations. That helped build my confidence and it came in handy now,” says the septuagenarian, who practices yoga everyday.

Narrating her experience, Ms. Chandra Govind who joined the home more than a year ago, said that she prayed when she tested positive. She said that she has sung in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, during the tenure of President R. Venkataraman, and given a performance on television too. “Trust in God and the decision to face the problem helped me overcome the virus,” she says.

R. Balamurugan, sanitary inspector, zone 15, said that the residents of the home have become like his family and many of their children, mostly settled abroad, call him to inquire about their health. “They are very disciplined. They stayed inside their rooms and broke the transmission chain. We provided them with food and water as the cook in the home also tested positive,” he says.

N. Gomathy, health officer, zone 15, said that all the elderly persons showed great courage and confidence. “They followed all our instructions and this discipline helped them overcome COVID-19. They put up a good fight,” she says.

Alby John, regional deputy commissioner, south said that this incident is an example of courage. “Early identification, testing, proper nutrition and self-confidence can win over the virus. One should be courageous, but not careless,” he explains.

What is the message the elderly COVID-19 winners have for others? “Do not fear COVID-19. Take proper nutrition, medicines and rest,” explains Ms. Nirmala.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2020 2:08:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/in-an-old-age-home-in-chennai-stories-of-hope-and-recovery/article31978668.ece

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