When the country is still reeling with the pandemic, the elderly are finding it extremely difficult to continue with their daily lives. With the limitation in mobility, the days have gone more anxiety inducing for them. The elderly have found themselves in severe confusion and chaos while the country shuffles between lockdowns. Additionally, the rising anxiety of COVID-19 has left them high and dry.
‘Grey Shades’, an elderly-care organisation started by two beaming young change-makers was quick to identify and address this challenge. Inderpreet Singh, 26, and Wyonna D’souza, 25, co-founders of Grey Shades got to work on this as soon as the nationwide lockdown was announced. The duo brought together a network of nearly 500 young volunteers in Chandigarh’s tri-city area to assist the elderly during the lockdown. Especially for the ones living alone.
For the last four months, the youth group has been delivering food, medicines and helping elderly who do not have anyone to attend to them. Furthermore, the team is also currently running a 24/7 counselling helpline service for the elderly. They can call up and speak to professional counsellors and therapists free of cost. The team has received hundreds of calls from elderly from across the country in the last few months.
Uncanny example of Youngsters rising for the Elderly
Inderpreet Singh, the founder of Grey Shades hails from Chabbal, a small village close to Amritsar Punjab. He witnessed that once the elderly retire from active work life, their social and emotional health takes a massive plunge. “There is a sudden feeling of being unproductive and unwanted. And a lot of people feel the sense of purposelessness when they grow old or don’t have active lives anymore.”, says Inderpreet.
Witnessing these challenges up close, Inderpreet thought of creating a space that can engage the elderly in a way that makes them feel resourceful. In other words, a framework where they can give to society like their younger productive days. That’s how Grey Shades came into being in 2016. Inderpreet along with his college mate Wyonna D’souza, started the organisation that creates a space that wards off the feeling of purposelessness in elderly. Over the years, the duo at Grey Shades has been able to create a massive community of senior citizens. They have set up several programs to engage them in activities. All of which make them feel productive and enhance their social and emotional well-being.
Enhancing the Social-Emotional Health of the Senior Citizens through a youth-like Fellowship Program
Grey Shades’s flagship Fellowship Program has been an incredible example of ‘youthifying the second-innings of senior citizens’. In their fellowship program, senior citizens are taken on a 6-months’ long journey to find perspective for the last-innings of their lives. The program works to restore a sense of active ageing and self-esteem within them. The fellowship helps them adapt to the changing technology. In other words, it makes them confident to carve their own purposeful space. “We help them prepare step-by-step in building a strong foundation. At the same time, we give them exposure and a platform where they can work on these.”, says Inderpreet.
Helping elderly adapt to the new-digital-era
Grey Shades is now planning to launch an application that would have a collection of learning tutorials, entertainment resources, motivational sessions. These resources help the older people to adapt to the ‘new digital normal’ of the post-COVID era. The app is currently under construction and will be out really soon. Grey Shades is running a crowd-funding program that would help them build a nuanced application and more extensive programs for the elderly. You can find more about it here.
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