Teaching the ‘golden oldies’, NGO puts Pune on road to become an ‘age friendly city’

The School for Development and Impact (SDI), an NGO, has launched a community programme to educate senior citizens.

The programme currently has volunteers working in two slum areas: Kasturba Vasahat and Indira Vasahat in Aundh.

The NGO is currently teaching 515 elderly women and men, working towards making Pune an ‘age-friendly city’ according to the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Giving details of their work in a press conference held on Friday at Patrakar Bhavan, Benazir Patil, chief executive officer (CEO) of the NGO said, “Our NGO is working on various projects in New Delhi with government of India, in April 2018 we started our work in Pune and primarily in these two slum areas. Here we have started our senior citizen’s centre named ‘Vrudhanchi Anganwadi’ (playgroup for senior citizens).

“The objective of our programme is to improve the status of older people and increase their feeling of ‘inclusiveness’ in society. Also to enhance awareness on the needs of older people and increase their support through an intergenerational approach. Our ongoing efforts focus on generating dialogue, creating enthusiasm to be active and look after themselves, and garnering support for the most vulnerable and needy,” added Patil.

Activities such as yoga sessions, health care sessions and checkup drives, art and training for livelihood generation is conducted for the elderly. Currently, there are five psychology students from various colleges and seven staff members working on this project.

“The most important part of our programme is one-on-one dialogue, excursion walks, meetings and mental health counselling of senior citizens. We also provide them with multivitamins, along with diapers, walkers, hearing aids and other things which give them relief in their day-to-day lives. We also help them in all the necessary paperwork which is needed during any hospital treatment, official work and household things.” said Kalpana Kavadi, project manager.

“We are now working on getting help from the government scheme and also co-ordinate a meeting with Pune Municipal Corporation officials. So that we can get help from these government agencies, last week we had a meeting with the WHO officials in New Delhi. According to their guidelines now we are extending our work to other parts of the city to make Pune an ‘age-friendly city’ in future,” said Patil.