AgeCare Project – Catalysing COVID-free Communities for Older People in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh

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India, July 2020: Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) India, with support from Shri Arun Bharat Ram and family, is providing support to poor senior citizens in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh through the AgeCare project. The NGO has adopted two old age homes in Delhi and Garh Mukteshwar, and has helped them in staying COVID-free over the past one month through regular disinfection, awareness sessions, medical interventions, a supply of good, nutritious food and distribution of masks. Besides this, the project is also reaching out to over 5,000 widows of Vrindavan.

The impact of COVID-19 outbreak is serious, uncertain and aggravating and is worst on one of the most vulnerable sections of our society – poor older people. The risk of dying from COVID-19 increases drastically with age, with 80 per cent of deaths in persons over 65 years old. Today, in India, almost nine per cent of the total population comprises of older people, who largely remain invisible in society. They are generally considered frail, sick and a spent force, and therefore, of no use. In situations of disaster, they are often seen at the ‘last’ and as ‘lost’ in any relief and rehabilitation efforts of government and philanthropic organisations. CAF India realised this and therefore launched the AgeCare project to help poor and old people sail through the crisis.

The following are the activities that are being carried out in the old age homes run by Saint Hardyal Educational and Orphans Welfare Society (SHEOWS):

Awareness programs will be conducted for aged inmates and caregivers of the home on COVID-19 outbreak and precautions. Everyone at the home will be trained on use of masks, social distancing, handwashing, quarantining and other DOs and Don’ts.

Healthy food with nutritious supplements, like protein milk, haldi milk, Vitamin C, etc. will be provided to the inmates of the old age home.

Preventive kits, including masks, sanitizers, gloves, etc. will be provided to the elders and caregivers along with the doctors, cooks, nurses, gardeners, security guards, drivers, helpers etc.

Daily and emergency medicines, clinical/pathological tests for inmates will be provided and special care and support will be given for those suffering from Alzheimer, dementia, paralysis and other ailments.

Regular physiotherapy support will be provided to aged inmates of the home for lesser body pain and better physical mobility.

Daily recreational activities will be carried out for elders to keep them mentally and physically healthy and at comfort with new ways of living post COVID-19

The old age home will be sanitized on a daily basis with attention given to social distancing. The elders are given fresh and clean clothes daily; their hands are being sanitised frequently throughout the day.

Quarantine facilities and ICU facility service with doctors will be provided to the elderly inmates, in case of any urgent need. The old age home has a 20-bedded hospital set up in Garh Mukteshwar.

 Community Outreach for Elderly Care in Vrindavan:

For the aged widows of Vrindavan, we have partnered with Guild For Service – a local NGO to carry out the following activities:

Identify the communities of widows, who are migrants, lack social protection or medical cover and are dependent on charity and ashrams for survival. As per one report from National Commission of Women, 59 per cent of the widows in Vrindavan belong to old age group and are at high risk for COVID-19.

In order to serve this ultra-vulnerable category of aged widows, appropriate beneficiary identification and thorough preparatory groundwork is important. The first 20 days of the project will be used to identify areas where widows congregate, appointing and orienting community coordinators, printing collaterals for information dissemination/awareness generation, reconnaissance visits of these areas, procurement, identifying ashrams requiring basic sanitation upgradation so that the beneficiaries can easily adopt preventive measures, like, regular hand washing, fumigation of premises, provision and usage of sanitizers, etc.

Elderly destitute, widow residents of identified communities and also old age homes will be educated and made aware of COVID-19 outbreak, prevention and safety. The project team, caregivers and volunteers will be oriented and trained regularly on how to take care and keep the elderly safe and healthy by following all necessary guidelines like social distancing, handwashing, and other hygiene measures. During community outreach, name, age, address, and morbidities of the aged widow beneficiaries will be recorded.

Healthy food with nutritious supplements will be provided to 5000 poor and aged widows. These will include, but not be limited to, immunity-boosting dietary supplements such as dates, dried figs, chyawanprash, haldi and herbal tea.

COVID- \19 preventive kits will be provided to 5,000 poor aged widows of Vrindavan to contain the risk as much as possible. These will include masks, sanitizers, gloves, etc.