Mumbai

Outings to tackle loneliness among Dawoodi Bohra elders

Forging new bonds: Community volunteers, including young students, will coordinate for the trips.

Forging new bonds: Community volunteers, including young students, will coordinate for the trips.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

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Five-day programme includes recreational outings, offering nutritional and psychological care

Last month, 66-year-old Shirin Rajulawala had a fun day trip to the garden located on a hilltop in Mazgaon. For the Anjirwadi resident, this was the first outing in almost eight years, when she stepped out of her house for some kind of recreation.

“It was relaxing. There were so many seniors like me who live alone and don’t get a chance to go for picnics,” said Ms. Rajulawala, who is already looking forward to an upcoming trip to Priyadarshani Park on Thursday.

At a time when there is increasing loneliness among senior citizens, the Dawoodi Bohra community has launched an elderly care initiative and starting Wednesday, seniors will be taken for recreational outings and offered nutritional and psychological care as per their requirement.

The five-day programme will see community volunteers, including young students, coordinating for the trips to local picnic points and tourist spots like Alibaug, Lonavla, Khandala and Matheran.

“Most senior citizens simply spend their time at home. We are attempting to take them out to a pleasant environment where they can spend some good time. Also, we want to learn from their experiences,” Sadiq Jamaluddin, coordinator of the programme, said.

He said it is a global programme and community members from across the world have organised a host of recreational and leisure events along with medical check-ups. “This is in addition to fostering meaningful conversations with experts and family members to address the problem of loneliness and provide a healthy home environment to those aged 70 years and above.”

The community’s religious head, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, has time and again emphasised the importance of caring for elders. “We should take care of our elders, take them out for leisure to freshen their minds. The blessings and prayers we receive in return will be of great benefit,” he had said in his recent sermon.

To ensure that the initiative is long-term, the volunteers will prepare case files of the seniors highlighting various aspects of their life including details about nutrition, financial health, physical and mental well-being, daily schedule, hygiene, leisure activities, friendships, and religious activities. Interventions will be carried out based on the details of these files. For example, if a senior citizen and his family members need counselling, qualified professionals will be mobilised to offer it.

“It feels great to go out in a group, play games, and just laugh with others,” said 79-year-old Hussain Hinglawala, a resident of Nagpada, who visited the Hanging Garden in a large group of seniors last week.

“The eldest in our group was a 103-year-old woman. We played housie and I won. We enjoyed our lunch and then got dropped back home,” said the shopkeeper who lives with his wife, grandchildren, and daughter-in-law. “We only make plans when my son comes down from the U.S.,” he said. “I have my family here. But there are so many who live alone. It is a great initiative for community members.”

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 12:50:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/outings-to-tackle-loneliness-among-dawoodi-bohra-elders/article30101104.ece

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