Chandigarh Youth utilizes unorthodox plan to improve the Social-Emotional Health of the Elderly during the Lockdown

Chandigarh Youth utilizes unorthodox plan to improve the Social-Emotional Health of the Elderly during the Lockdown
Image Credits: The Optimist Citizen

Amid second wave of covid-19 pandemic government has announced lockdown all over India. When the nation is still staggering with the pandemic, the aged are finding it immensely difficult to continue with their day to day lives. With the restrictions in mobility, the days have gone more concern inducing for them. The elderly have found themselves in severe confusion and chaos while the country mix up between lockdowns.

‘Grey Shades’, an elderly-care organisation started by two dazzling young change-makers has recognize the problem and need of elderly people and accept this challenge without anyone’s back. 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 declared. The duo brought together a network of nearly 500 young volunteers in Chandigarh’s tri-city area to serve the elderly during the lockdown. Especially for the ones living solo.

Since last quarter of months, Grey Shade has been delivering food, medicines and assisting elderly who do not have anyone to attend to them. However, the squad at present running a 24/7 counselling helpline service for the elderly. They can call up and speak to professional counsellors and therapists chargeless. The team has encountered hundreds of calls from elderly from across the country in the previous few months.

Inderpreet Singh, the founder of Grey Shades hails from Chabbal, a small village close to Amritsar Punjab. He witnessed that once the elderly retired from active work life, their social and emotional health takes a massive plunge. To curtail this anxiety he decided to do something. “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. He believes that people who live alone especially elderly one needs more attention and love.

Observing these challenges up close, Inderpreet thought of making a space that can capture the elderly in a way that makes them feel creative. In other words, a framework where they can give to society like their old busy and 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 aimlessness in elderly. All along the years, the duo at Grey Shades has been able to create aenormous community of senior citizens. They have set up various programs to engage them in activities. All of which make them feel productive and magnify their social and emotional well-being.

Grey Shades’s flagship Fellowship Program has been an unbelievable example of ‘youthifying the second-innings of senior citizens. In their sociability program, senior citizens are taken on a 6-months’ long expedition to discover outlook for the last-innings of their lives. The program works to regenerate sense of active ageing and self-esteem within them. The fellowship helps them adapt to the switching technology. In other words, it makes them confident to carve their own enthusiastic 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.

Now the Grey Shade’s is planning to put to sea a new app which 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. App is still work in progress and will be launched super soon.