Gone are the days when the elderly were considered a burden to the family and society. They are now appointed as seniors who are giving valuable guidance to society. They form their own groups, clubs and other social service organizations to serve society. One such club is the Chennai Probus Club sponsored by the Chennai Rotary Club. The club has nearly 500 senior professionals and entrepreneurs as members. They organize regular meetings and useful discussions on the problems and their solutions that concern not only the elderly but also the Society.
Some of the services they provide to society are:
1. Give scholarships to deserving poor students.
2. Carrying out various health camps.
3. Visit nursing homes to encourage the less fortunate seniors who live there.
4. Honor Probus club members who have exemplary service activities with Probus Recognition Awards and non-Probus members with the Probus Excellence Award to encourage them to perform more service in the future.
5. Celebration of International Women’s Day and International Day for the Elderly, the day on which these prizes will be distributed.
In addition to the above, the club encourages the talent of its members by carrying out various cultural activities. Writing talents are one of the most important among them.
To improve writing talents, the club publishes books on the lives of older people on each International Day of the Elderly, containing articles written by older people, mostly members, on various topics, especially those that are relevant to old people.
So far, the club has published 25 books and the latest book was published on this year’s International Day of Older Persons, October 4, 2017, and contains 87 articles contributed by members, which are the permanent examples of a happy and healthy life. While it is not possible to give a count of all members, below are notes on members who have written about the health of older members along with a brief report on their articles:
Prof. Dr. V.Balambal is a retired director of a renowned women’s university, ex=president of a Rotary club who has traveled to several countries reporting that cancer, reproductive health, HIV, violence against women , dementia, osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes are the vital issues for women’s health. However, there is a noticeable improvement in medical services. Although medical services have improved a lot, ignorance plays a very important role in the health life of poor old women.
The former Rotary/Probus president further suggests the following steps for poor elderly women to live better:
* It is important to plan for old age
** One must be active and have free movement.
(suggestions from other members are given in the following paragraphs)
Ms. Lakshmi Natarajan is an active academic and continues her educational activities as a freelancer after her retirement.
1. Pick up a new hobby or one that you’ve neglected for a long time.
2. Play with your grandchildren, children in the family and pets.
3. Learn something new like music, foreign language, games and thus also gain new friends.
4. Attend some local events preferably as a volunteer.
5. Teach on topics familiar to you, drama or sports team.
6. Take weekend trips and travel a lot.
These six steps will keep one young even though they are adults of chronological age.
Mr. RTNamasivayam, a retired engineer and current president of the club, has the following suggestions to make.
1. One can have a permanent cook and a helper with him in the house. As a precautionary measure, you must keep police records on the servants and must also have good liaison with local officials. Online services must be used effectively.
2. Nursing homes can also be chosen as another opportunity to live in a senior community. They need to contact local officials to get Aadhar cards, ration cards, etc. with ease that cannot be obtained through computer applications.
3. If the senior is wealthy, he or she may own a villa or apartment in a community housing complex. Sufficient bank balance must be maintained to meet any requirements.
Above all, health must be taken care of and the elderly must be punctual in all health check-ups and regular in follow-up medication, if any.
Shri S. Gopalakrishnan, retired General Manager of a nationalized bank gives advice on investment options. He has provided a vivid account of investment options aimed exclusively at seniors that will be useful to those who have retirement funds with them for immediate investments in a prudent manner. Most of the time, people get scammed by fake investment companies offering very high interest rates and then run away. For those people, these suggestions are very useful for depositing in government institutions with assured earnings.
In short, there are two types of people that God has created, 1. privileged people 2. under privileged people. It is horrible to live in poverty, that also at the age of 70 years or more. Poetess Avvaiyar (who was also very old) centuries ago, “It is horrible to live in poverty, that too, in youth.” The same can be corrected “It is horrible to live in poverty, and also in old age, where loneliness also tortures them.”
It is the duty of the most privileged to help and protect the less privileged. By doing so, they will also gain the benefit of self-satisfaction and peace of mind.
That is the path to “Aging Joyfully” as explained in various articles in this book.