UDHAVI has been inspired by the number of senior citizens “orphaned” and left to their own devices without the support they richly deserve. UDHAVI is dedicated to the memory of our daughter Deepika whom we lost at a young age, a young woman who believed in looking after the elderly and their needs in an informal way.
We are still working on statistics, but the life span in India and throughout the world has been increased, and consequently it is important that the elderly lead a meaningful enriched life without the despair and ill health they suffer with longevity.
Most of the children, encouraged by their parents to better their prospects have migrated and some of them without ensuring that their parents are comfortable. Unfortunately we do not have the infrastructure that the West has for older people where the culture is “independence” at all times in their lives. We hang on foolishly to traditional values, hoping that we will be ultimately cared for by our children, are reluctant to move into Retired People’s Homes worrying over the likely problems in a new territory.
Having closely lived and loved old people most of my life, I thought there was nothing better than creating some kind of support for older people. Whilst there are so many schemes and programmes for the young adults and children, the old are kept on the back burner as persons who have outlived their usefulness. On the contrary, old people are rich in their experience in different fields, and their knowledge can be harnessed in a productive way as specialised consultants. This raises their self worth even if they work on a voluntary basis. One does not realise how enormous their contributions could be to society.
What I feel would help is a networking base to help the elderly. Our first meeting was on August 13 2013 in Chennai, and five volunteers offered their help. Each of them is contributing towards making a better life for the old and the infirm and for caregivers. I now call them mentors who form my core group.
We need to widen our base and each of these dedicated volunteers could get more people to join us thereby creating a ripple in the pond. What are the main functions of UDHAVI?
We locate old people who need help, to register with UDHAVI.
We screen them on eligibility to find out how much of help they really need.
We visit their homes to check on the safety aspect, if their homes are user friendly and the accessories they lack.
We split our volunteers area wise, and the seniors will connect to those people in their locality.
We build a comprehensive data base, which covers doctors, nursing help, nursing homes, hospitals, and visiting doctors, and shops which provide accessories for the elderly. This information has to be held by the core group to share whenever necessary.
Each member of our core group can form their own group of volunteers from that area.
Though we are starting out as a voluntary agency, we do need sponsors for some of our projects, and also for transport stationery etc, and for short trips we hope to make in a van.
We need to look at groups like Help Age, Dignity Foundation and Orion to quote a few and try to give our Senior Citizens what these organisations are not able to provide.
We talk to geriatric doctors who could attend our meetings time permitting and give us pointers on what to do and arrange for house visits by them.
Though it is not a priority at the moment, short trips or visits to certain places, movies or even arranging for shopping at malls would be appreciated.
Above all, total commitment is essential, and with the kind of networking I envisage the entire burden will not rest on a few people alone.
In a nutshell, UDHAVI works towards assisted living, not by giving professional nursing or housekeeping facilities, but offers companionship, assistance in small chores round the house, and offering learning skills to the elderly.
In love with old people from childhood. Passion for textiles, and food, and writing. Started UDHAVI in memory of her daughter Deepika
With a master’s degree in computer science and founder of Bazaar Buzz he is presently Director in Old is Gold Store, a company focused on making lives of Indian senior citizens safe, secure and comfortable.
One of the first to join Udhavi, she is co director of the Old is Gold Store in Chennai.
An Executive Committee Member of the Crafts Council of India, she will rush to any corner of the city when she knows an elder is in need and is gifted with tireless energy.
A standing example of “age is no barrier to service” she is an Executive Committee Member of the Crafts Council of India and is fully energised to be of help. Very computer savvy, she provides valuable information for our data base regularly.
A yoga enthusiast, loves theatre and keeping fit through exercise, meditation and a positive attitude.
She is soft spoken and has a flair in dealing with the elderly. A super cook, she is never tired of feeding friends and guests!
She is on call for help through the day, and we lean on her when we run short of volunteers.
Srikumar is a sales and marketing professional and his passion for senior care led him to launch Care Finder. He has brought energy and professionalism into UDHAVI. Tell him to do a job today and he completes it yesterday!
Teaching young children brought Minna a loving caregiver, into our fold, as she understands “second childhood” better than most.
A nutritionist through qualification, a teacher by passion, and a woman who laughs her way through life. Kalpana Ramani is the latest addition to our Core Group.
A passion for design led her to giving up a corporate job and start a design firm which is now partnered by her daughter, an architect. A thorough professional, she is an asset to our Core Group.
Full time homemaker, Sachu as she is better known, radiates joy and energy whenever she visits our elders. Keenly interested in music and yoga, and has histrionic talents which she keeps under cover.