By Varsha Welankar
10 December 2008
This is the first in a series of reports on senior citizen clubs in the city
When Vinod Shah started a day care centre for the elderly people of the society, he had a vague idea of the possible benefits of the venture and the transformation it would bring about in their lives.
However, after seven years, 400–odd members make use of the day care centre, which is running successfully at Shewale Hospital on Aundh Road. The centre is supported by the Pune Municipal Corporation and Lion’s Club, Ganeshkhind.
As the senior citizens sit together for a game of cards or carom or play table tennis, one can see their zest for life. “This centre has made us young,” said a member, Vani Raghunath (87).
“The word ‘Retired’ only gives a feeling of non–performance. Sharing such similar feelings brings the members closer to each other in all sorts of illnesses, be they physical or mental,” said secretary of the centre Gopal Krishnan. Today, things have changed for them. Their day begins at 5.30 am, when all the members step out of their respective houses to learn and practice yoga.
“Yoga has benefited us as it helps to maintain peace of mind,” says president of the centre PD Sukumaran. The physiotherapy section attached to the centre is another place that helps them keep fit.
These people find it difficult to cope with the lifestyle of their children and family members. They are bogged down by the feeling. But the centre has given them a new vision in life.
“It helped us understand our problems and issues that concern us rather than bothering about others,” said a member of the centre, DB Kurien. “Right from caring about our health and daily chores, we can now manage on our own,” Kurien added.
Another member, Govind More, takes on the responsibility of a coach and teaches games to everyone. “We have become masters of all games,” he says proudly. To keep pace with the changing society, the centre has a computer training section, ably handled by PP Chandrasekhar. They are taught how to create email accounts and use them to keep in touch with their children abroad.
Women members have sewing machines to keep them occupied throughout the day. They also take part in games like table tennis, carom and cards. “We plan to start door–to–door coaching classes for slum children of municipal schools,” said the president.
The members are not ready to look back at their past or even at their present physical limitations. There is no wrinkle on the face or gloom in the eye of the elderly at this centre.