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Keeping a routine helps : Older adults on their COVID lockdown experience

Coronavirus pandemic has brought unprecedented uncertainty and fear in the society especially elderly people. With lockdown in place and social distancing norms strictly being adhered to, most senior citizens do feel lonelier than usual and oftentimes, need a helping hand. With several comorbidities in place, many older adults have an aging immune system that makes it even harder to fight off diseases like coronavirus. Per-existing medical conditions can lead to slower recoveries and more complications.

Since many of us have parents, grandparents living in different cities and due to lockdown, we cannot travel to visit them frequently or help as we used to so Jammu Links News spoke to a few elderly people to get a sneak peek into their daily schedules and coping mechanisms during this pandemic.

Lalit Mengi, former Chief Engineer, PWD (R&B), Jammu has a different take on lockdown life than the popular opinion that older adults are facing a tough time. On talking about his coping mechanism during Covid lockdowns, he said, "Although, the situation at present is nothing less than catastrophe but it has been the most productive time for me. Solitude came on its own and the tranquility it brought helped me to shape my thoughts. I have been spending most of my time, reading, re-reading old classics and new books. I still feel short of time as I am compiling an anthology. This lockdown period triggered the dormant side of my personality which was left unattended during my service."

He added, " Government's initiative to provide vaccines to the elderly first was a great move and deserves appreciation but we still need not to lower our guard. All of us need to follow COVID appropriate behaviour while stepping out for essentials and need to give more time to our hobbies and other interests. This period has provided us a great opportunity to be more productive and we must reap it."

Balbir Kour, Retd. Professor, recalled the time when her husband started noticing COVID symptoms and both of them had to deal with it alone as their kids could not travel from abroad.

She said, "It was the time of helplessness because my children were not around but our friends and family helped immensely. We were in constant touch with our doctors over a span of two weeks. And finally a sigh of relief came when my husband recovered from COVID."

Talking about lockdown, she said, "Social distancing and lockdowns are not really a matter of contention anymore, increased Covid cases have set off fear and trepidation in all which cannot be ignored. We were fortunate enough to receive help in these challenging times but for those who cannot get any help, it is a stressful period. One needs to stay vigilant and follow a proper daily routine to ward off negative emotions. Connecting with family and relatives can be a great stress buster."

Mridula Dogra, a housewife also shared her experience during lockdown implemented in COVID-19 pandemic. She said, "I feel positivity can keep us calm and having a routine really helps. My Husband, Retd. Col. K.K.Dogra and I enjoy waking up early in the morning and then having tea in our well-maintained garden. We love walking barefoot on the grass which is then followed by reading a set of newspapers. I am also fond of cooking and chatting with friends and family."

She added, "Although our routines have changed and we cannot socialise as much but internet helps us to stay in touch. The situation around is quite saddening, my husband also lost two elder brothers in a span of one month. But the only way out seems to be staying positive and following all necessary precautions."

Unlike the popular notion that elders' feel more anxious, the myth needs to be debunked because most older adults are less stressed compared to other age groups. Positive emotions of gratitude and calmness help them to alleviate stress caused by the situation around. And access to technology has helped them to stay connected with family and friends.


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Hardeep Bali