Studies show that life at an old age home, for those above 60 years of age are vulnerable to succumb to Coronavirus. It is not possible to visit old age homes because of the risk to the senior citizens during lockdown. We had visited an Old Age home 4 years ago, so we called the concerned person to know if we could visit the facility, as soon as the lockdown ends.
Thanks to Stanley Johnson, who runs Johns Day Care and Boarding for Senior Citizens in Delhi. We visited an Old age Home, four months after the lockdown began, to find the physical, mental and emotional state of the elderly during the pandemic.
He and the inmates agreed to film a day’s activities at the facility during the lockdown. Inmates at the home have Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson Disease or mentally unsound. No inmates had any severe health issues during the pandemic. Here is a peep into how the elderly remain healthy, happy and active during this lockdown days.
How do they Spend time during COVID?
They wake up a little late after having their bed tea. Those who can bath take a bath. Others we help. Most of them stay indoors, or they walk around. They watch television, read newspapers and interact with each other. Physical and mentally alert ones do exercises and small types of yogas in their rooms. Physical activities help them remain active. Once a week, there are recreational activities. They sing, they speak and mingle with one another.
What is done to protect them from the virus?
They had various briefing section about the pandemic, wearing masks and social distancing. All have to wear a mask. It is a must. Sometimes they complain. But we make them understand. They spit from the mouth. So we take the precaution since we do not know who can be the career.
For meals, there are separate sections in the dining room or room service. Nobody is allowed to go outside. Indoor, they are safe. But they maintain social distancing. Nobody sits close together anywhere. Even in the recreation room, they keep social distancing. Since the outbreak of the pandemic relatives and friends are banned from bringing food and delicacy.
How immunity is boosted?
In the Morning they get hot piping bed tea. Because taking warm water is essential again, along with breakfast, tea is provided. We tell them not to drink cold water. Enough amount of ORS (Oral rehydration solutions), made with salt, sugar, water and lime, prevents Dehydration.
Protein wise food is given to everyone. Fish, chicken or meats are not provided as some of them are vegetarians. Eggs are permitted. Some take egg daily and some on alternate days.
How are the Elderly with comorbidities taken care?
For those who take heart and BP medicines, we give timely food, medicine and exercises. Outside food or oily food are not allowed. Every medication is checked and given.
Do the elderly feel lonely because they cannot meet their loved ones?
There is not a question of isolation or loneliness. Our caretakers are there 24X7, so nobody feels lonely. They keep in touch with their relatives through their mobile phones. Once in a while, some of the relatives share videos over the phone.
They understand the situation, and we keep briefing the relatives about the situation. One 89-year-old gentleman is habitual of taking non-veg daily. His daughter sends over the food daily. We collect the parcel at the gate and deliver it to him.
What about COVID sanitization?
Every third or fourth day we have COVID sanitization. Disinfectanting the door, windows, knobs, exposed to the outer environment shields the home from the virus.
Their reaction to the pandemic?
They have a TV in their room. So they can understand the situation, and they keep discussing among themselves. Besides, we sit and talk to them daily about the situation outside.
Recent studies found the elderly resist the pandemic and Lockdown better than the youngster. The study proved to be true when we look at the lockdown lifestyle of the elderly of the old age home.