A community initiative strives to reach out to the elderly in the time of COVID-19

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From right to left: Natasha Sekhon (Lead for Panchkula), Inderpreet Singh (Lead for Chandigarh) and Wyonna Dsouza (Lead for Mohali) of Grey Shades

A few messages, a couple of calls and a some posts have encouraged a sensitive and thoughtful initiative by the members of Grey Shades, a youth-run, not-for-profit working for the social and emotional well-being of senior citizens in the tricity. Wyonna Dsouza shares how working with senior citizens as part of Grey Shades, has got them closer to their needs.

The many growing concerns regarding COVID-19, adds Inderpreet Singh, made them initiate a plan which would involve volunteers from Grey Shades and the larger community, to reach out to the elderly living alone in Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula, check on them personally at home and drop off groceries/medicines or any other supplies if needed. “There are many who are working abroad and their parents and relatives are living alone here, and they are concerned about the elderly venturing out to get their basic necessities and medical care, if needed, and so we reached out to the larger community and received a very positive response, with many reaching out to us with ideas and volunteering to pitch in,” shares Singh.

Grey Shades started with a mission to re-establish the social value of the elderly in our society. In all the struggles and challenging times of ageing, the organization is providing perspective and space to senior citizens for an active and meaningful life through expression, exploration and experimentation. The Grey Shades Fellowship is a curriculum based experiential learning journey which is designed to help re-establish their confidence and self-esteem and help them live their life with enthusiasm and purpose.

“We have a community of over 30 active agers who are setting examples for the other senior citizens in the tricity and this initiative is not limited to these 30 citizens, but anyone who needs help. Many volunteers have reached out to us with their numbers and we plan to have a lead in Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula, who will coordinate with the volunteers in different sectors, to reach out to the elderly. Social media and our own network will take this effort forward,” adds Dsouza.

Many young people have offered their services in different sectors, in case the elderly can’t step out because of the concerns of infection, as they are more vulnerable. The plan, adds Singh, is to have the volunteers step in for any kind of assistance the elderly may need. “In a span of a few hours, since we shared the idea, more than 20 people have come forward to offer space, hand sanitizers, grocery shopping et al and we know this collective effort will be very successful,” sums up Singh.

Helpline numbers for Chandigarh: +91 8968821155, Mohali: +91 7303441719, Panchkula: +91 9876781057.