World Elders Day Invite
UDHAVI's 5th Anniversary at Savera - 2018
The 5th Anniversary of Udhavi was celebrated in grand style with a wonderful program held at The Piano in Savera, sponsored by the ever generous Ms. Nina Reddy.
The programme, held on the 27th of August, started on an auspicious note with a vocal and dance invocation.
Sachu and Kalpana, henceforth to be known as the UDHAVI Sisters, sang beautifully and invoked the blessings of Lord Ganesha. Ms. Rajam's short dance beautifully in sync with the singing was elegance personified.
To begin the formal proceedings, founder of UDHAVIMs. Sabita Radhakrishna gave a brief introduction to UDHAVIand introduced the core group members. This was followed by a short speech by Ms. Nina Reddy where she highlighted the need for such meetings and offered to help take the UDHAVI forum to a wider audience. It was touching to feel her warmth and appreciation for us.
Dr. Parthasarathy, an eminent Opthalmologist spoke about the various age related eye problems which the audience found to be highly informative. He also took time to answers various questions from the enthusiastic audience members.
This was followed by a quiz titled "Andha Naal" which helped the audience go down memory lane and remember the world as it was when they were young. This quiz, conducted by Ms. Jayashree, was a big hit with audience members vying with each other to answer the questions.
The highlight of the program, as usual, was the music program that followed. Lakshmi Ravikanth and Naren sang old Hindi and Tamil numbers which had the elders tapping their feet and singing along with gusto.
No program is a big hit without great food and Savera did not disappoint. Instead of the usual idly, vada, sambar, we were treated to some freshly baked pizzas and an assortment of pastries.
The individually hand embroidered return gifts made by Ms. Meena Bedi were much appreciated as were the carefully chosen gifts by Ms. Rajam which were all gift wrapped by her in artistic fashion.
All together, it was a wonderful evening for the dozen Udhavi volunteers and 30+ Udhavi beneficiaries who managed to attend that day.
A big round of applause to all those who planned and executed another flawless Udhavi event.
UDHAVI's 5th Anniversary - 2018
A luncheon treat for the hard working core group to celebrate UDHAVI's 5th Anniversary in August 2018. Here they are toasting a long life to UDHAVI.
beneficiary Kausalya Patti
One of our oldest beneficiary Kausalya Patti is 98 years old, being taken out for a ride by Core Group member Vina. She lives by herself and manages her household.
beneficiary Kamakshi Amma
Neighbourhood elderly activist felicitated by Governor of Tamil Nadu. While there are several voices that campaign for resolving the issues of the neighbourhood, the strongest among them is undoubtedly that of Kamashi Subramaniam, a resident of Besant Nagar.
beneficiary Rajalakshmi Amma
UDHAVI's beneficiary, sprightly Rajalakshmi Amma well in to her eighties, being taken for a walk in the beach by Core group member Sachu... here she is enjoying her potato swirls by the sea.
UDHAVI SPEAKS ON TRENDS AND CHALLENGES IN ELDER CARE
On 7th February 2018, Ms. Sabita Radhakrishna, founder Udhavi spoke at the seminar on trends and challenges in living. She spoke on the topic of Loneliness to a large audience that comprised of NGO’s, Senior associations, Builders, Architects, Medical Professionals, Academia etc.,
She briefed the audience on Udhavi and the work it did. She spoke about the core group and the battery of enthusiastic volunteers. She praised the work they did, as it did not give them money or glamor. It gave them something more. She said that the best payments Udhavi received were the word of appreciation from an elder, whom Udhavi helped She touched upon the need for care and compassion for elderly . She said Udhavi’s USP was stave off loneliness. Money is the lowest form of charity according to her. It’s the time, efforts and care that makes a difference to the lives of people.
She quoted the United Nations Population Finding that India will have over 20 percent of its population in the elder category by 2050. She said that loneliness was the most difficult thing in life. The sounds of loneliness are deafening reflecting the emptiness syndrome. She spoke about elders and mindsets. She said that elders need to dress well and be confident. She quoted her role models were her husband and mother, who till their end, lived their life with zest and energy. She said that networking was very important in the work we do and meeting like-minded people is something Udhavi always seeks
WHAT A FUN EVENING IT WAS AT THE MYLAPORE CLUB!
The evening was so well organised. Loved the yoga! Roopa Verma shared very good ideas with us. It was so nice to see everyone's faces lighting up during the games and everyone was smiling by the end of the games. The candle lighting was a beautiful gesture and it was so nice to listen to "Geeta's husband' talking so fondly of her. The tea was really, really good. The music was great!!
Enjoyed meeting Kamakshi Mami, she has such a vibrant personality! Enjoyed talking to Vimala too! Enjoyed meeting the Udhavi group too!
You and Udhavi are doing such noble deeds and bringing light into the lives of seniors! And the lovely candles you gave everyone will also bring light in their physical surroundings!!:))
4 years ago I had called Udhavi to be a volunteer. Again now, I would like to offer to be a volunteer in whatever limited way I can. Will talk to you about it!
Keep the great work going Sabita and the team! God Bless!
This is from Tara Rao, confined to a wheelchair, who wants to volunteer for us. A remarkable woman she is a great inspiration to each of us.
TRAINING ON DEMENTIA CARE FOR UDHAVI MEMBERS
Team Udhavi attended a knowledge workshop on Dementia and Dementia from a Care Giver’s perspective at the SCARF Training Centre, Chennai. Dr. Sridhar Vaitheswaran, Consultant Psychiatrist, Schizophernia Research Foundation (India) – SCARF, conducted the workshop. The workshop helped team Udhavi understand requirements of elders with memory illness better and this will help them address these persons as better informed volunteers.
THE SILVER EVENING
If you are a senior adult, you may feel that the community you had once has changed or is gone or you just don’t fit in anymore. That is where UDHAVI comes in, to stave off the loneliness of elders, and to bring light into their lives.
We organized “The Silver Evening” for the elders we look after, on 8th January 2018 at the Mylapore Club, some camaraderie, a few laughs, yoga to ease those troublesome joints and fitness, music to pep up spirits, light memory games and some special eats too.
We missed our dear Geetha who is no longer with us and a short tribute was paid to her.. Her family was present and a candle was lit in memory of our departed friend.
The participation and the moments of joy we witnessed in our members made our day and appreciation from each elder who attended keeps pouring in.
-- Vina Narasimhamurthy
ANOTHER BLOSSOM FALLS
Geetha Shekar joined our UDHAVI family two years ago, as a very efficient, committed and eager volunteer. Amazingly independent, she would go on her own to visit our beneficiaries, and won their hearts with her care and concern. In a relatively short time she was part of our Core Group. Whenever meetings were held in our home she would come earlier to make the tea for seven or eight of us gathered there for the meeting.
Geetha and Shekar were of great support to me, along with other members of the UDHAVI family when I had two major tragedies in my life. Geetha was there at the hospital, at home and seemingly everywhere, and I will never forget that. Even during her brave fight with cancer, she was positive, would attend meetings and was active till the disease rendered her physically broken. Geetha was always impeccably dressed and even on my last visit to her weeks before she passed on she wore a smart kaftan, sat down and talked to me, and advised me to collect UDHAVI files which were with her, and a tiffin carrier that I had left at their residence. It amazed and touched me that even during those periods of intense suffering and pain she continued to do what had to be done.
You will be sorely missed Geetha and your fragrance will linger at every meeting, and you are one of those who will always remain in our hearts.
-- Sabita Radhakrishna
Cardio Camp at Egmore
UDHAVI an Adyar based NGO, conducted a cardio camp recently, for the under priveleged though kind courtesy, Sri Ramachandra Hospitals Porur and Dr. S. Thanickachalam. The free tests included, ECG, Echo Cardiogram, blood tests for general health, checking of blood pressure , pulse and overall checks by a doctor from SRMS. Space for the camp was loaned courtesy Dr Sridhar Vaitheeswaran, at their Dementia Centre.
Breakfast was served to all the beneficiaries.
UDHAVI will follow up on the test reports through treatment recommendations and further action with counselling . More programmes are on the anvil for the future.
Kala Sridhar…a fond remembrance
Kala Sridhar was discovered by Lalitha Ramachander. She was a precious find, and from the day she joined UDHAVI she was so dedicated and focused and started her work with elders who grew to love her. Distance never deterred her and she was willing to drive her car herself from Thiruvanmiyur to Annanagar, and getting to know and be of service to all our beneficiaries. Very soon she joined our Core Group, and had so much to report at meetings.
I will never forget our trip to Orissa and the way we had fun, apart from attending the Lit Fest where I read a paper. We shopped, and we talked, exchanged confidences and forged one more link in our friendship. I had great hopes in Kala as a lead personality in UDHAVI. She was ever willing to help at a personal level, and never expected any compensation in terms of money, she only wanted love and a big hug which she got in plenty from all of us.
In her battle with a deadly form of cancer, Kala fought as only she could, always positive and smiling, confident she would over come the disease. She succumbed, tired and heartbroken on Sept 9th 2016, leaving us all desolate and grief stricken.
I never dreamt that exactly a week later death would claim my beloved husband in one fell swoop as I still mourned for Kala. He has been supportive of UDHAVI, preferring to remain in the background preparing delicious snacks for our meetings and advising me on practical issues.
We are still grappling with the terrible loss, but the spirit of these two wonderful people remain with us at all times.
-- Sabita Radhakrishna
Ms. Sabita Radhakrishna, founder – Udhavi awarded the Probus Award of Excellence - 2017
As part of the International Women’s day celebrations, the Probus Club of Chennai – awarded the “Probus Award of Excellence – 2017” to Ms. Sabita Radhakrishna, founder of UDHAVI.
The function was held at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture on 7th March 2017.
Mr. Mikhail Gorbatov – Director Russian Cultural Centre of Science and Culture, Proban R.T.Namasivayam, President of Probus Club of Chennai and Proban N. Rammohan, secretary of the Probus Club of Chennai were part of the awards ceremony.
The scroll of honor given to Ms. Sabita on the occasion highlighted her contributions to the society through UDHAVI and also her contributions to the textile industry, specifically to the upliftment of economically weaker artisans.
In her acceptance speech, Ms. Sabita thanked team UDHAVI and said that this was an award she is receiving on their behalf. She contributed her success to the support and encouragement from her husband and mother. She said that a smile in the faces of the beneficiaries of UDHAVI is the motivation that energizes the team.
The Probus Club of Chennai ( sponsored by the Rotary Club of Madras) is an association of retired and retiring professionals, businessmen, government servants and others.
TOGETHER WE MAKE A FAMILY
Udhavi’s event on 15th February at Savera Hotel
Musical Evening at Hotel Savera
The hall and sponsor had been identified. the date fixed the performers were there. We now had exactly a week to get our act together and ensure that the event went off smoothly.
A tall order but with Sabita's delegation of work, gentle and constant follow up and Srikumar's professionalism, all the other members were sure "yes we can" do it! The musical evening on 15th February 2017 at Hotel Savera for the senior citizens was something all of us at Udhavi are going to look back with a lot of joy and satisfaction.
Everyone got down to doing their task with enthusiam. A press release in both Adayar Times and Mylapore Times had very encouraging response. About 40 people registered and around 60 people attended the program.
Sudesh, Geetha and Meena were kept busy with their phone ringing continuously - they were meticulous in taking down the details and answering queries. Sudesh was tracking the final number to be given to Hotel Savera and coordinating transport arrangement for Udhavi beneficiaries with Geetha.
Srikumar was coordinating with Savera and ensuring that the hall had the required sound system for the music, white board and markers for doctor's presentation, banners at the entrance to the hall and registration forms and stationary at the registration desk, were all there.
Rajam and Meena were in charge of gifts for the sponsor Mrs. Nina Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Hotel Savera, Chief Guest Dr. Bharat Kumar, Senior Gastroenterologist with Apollo Hospital,and Musicians Mrs. Sudha Lakshmi Rao and Mr. Anand Madhavan. They were beautifully packed and brought to the venue.
The Program started with invocation song by Renuka. Sabita then gave an introduction to the mission of Udhavi.
Dr. Bharat Kumar's talk on "gastro-enterological diseases in the elderly - causes and cure" was not only informative but very interesting. Doctor explained in simple language the causes which sometimes baffle and seem complicated. Equally he gave very simple remedial solutions. Owing to paucity of time (as the doctor was taking a flight) the talk had to be curtailed to give time for Question-Answer session. The unanimous opinion was that Udhavi should have a sequel to this talk by Dr. Bharat Kumar!
Mrs.Nina Reddy generously offered to host more of Udhavi's functions.
After sumptuous tea - courtesy Hotel Savera, music started raining and how! Sudha and Anand started singing popular Tamil, Hindi and English songs, from the 40s going up to the 70s (the golden era of film music as it is popularly called). It was palpable that the crowd was walking down memory lane. The musical quiz by Sudha was answered easily showing how knowledgeable the audience was. Amazing talents were spotted in the crowd and also our own Srikumar, sang some old songs.
The highlight of the evening was when Probus President Mr. Namasivayam, announced that their NGO was honouring Sabita Radhakrishna with an award this year on Women' Day for her contribution to the care of elderly.
It was a day to remember.
Dr.Kannan Pugazhendi Talks to Udhavi
Response to the talk"Growing younger as we grow older" by Dr.Kannan Pugazhendi at Fortis Malar hospital on 17th Agusut, 2015 for Udhavi was overwhelming. Due to space constraint, a number of elders keen to register for the program had to be turned down. The response, as sanjay Dattadri one of the founders and core group member, mentioned in his opening remarks, showed the increasing relevance of an NGO like Udhavi.
Mrs. Sabita Radhakrishna, Founder member of Udhavi, went out of breadth while introducing Dr. Kannan Pugazhendi -- his achievements are so numerous. Dr Kannan Pugazhendi is one of the most prominent Sports and Fitness medicine consultant in India, with over 25 years of experience and vast Olympic and professional team expertise. Doctor got his primary medical qualification in 1986 from Madras Medical College, a diploma in sports coaching from Madras University and then went to Australia to pursue Masters Degree in Sports medicine. He is a Certified Fitness Instructor from the American College of Sports Medicine and certified Level 1 Instructor of Brazilian Jujitsu. He is also an exponent of Kalari Payattu and Silambam. Dr. Kannan Pugazhendi is open to the idea of promoting other healing practices like Yoga, Varma, Chi kung, Acupuncture and Tai Chi to name a few.
With his vast experience and profound knowledge of various forms of healing practices, he has successfully treated many painful conditions conservatively thereby avoiding invasive surgeries. He has trained over 10,000 Physical Education professionals and treated over five lakh patients. He has been the Sports Physician for almost all the Indian International Sports team. He has also worked with the Tamil Nadu Police Department in their fitness training.
The topic of the day's talk was an oxymoron -- we associate growing old with ageing and not growing young! Doctor in his inimitable style spoke how we are conditioned into thinking that with age we "have to become old" - physically and mentally. He pointed out that age is a number while ageing is an attitude. He said that human body is designed for movement and it is when don't move that problems start creeping in. We then call them as "problems of ageing". Taking the example of a car, he said that in a car it is the wheels that are most important. Similarly in humans it is the muscles which are very important. Heart, lungs, stomach and all other important organs work to make the muscles strong. That surely was a point to ponder over. Age, Doctor said, is not in the number but in the activities we are able or not able to perform. Being active is very important to maintain good health through out life. He gave the example of a 75 year "young" gentleman running and doing high jump when we would expect him to be "shaking" with age.
During the Question Answer session many present asked how they should tackle their aches and pains, Doctor informed them of the program he conducts for the elderly.The "young elders"went back home feeling even younger!
As is now well documented, the beginning of the brake up of joint family started with the "sandwich generation" (those between 50 and 70 years of age) moving to far off places for better opportunities. This, without putting another system in place, has left a big void in the care of the elderly. Many of them live alone, not just because their children are away, but also because nuclear family is now the norm. This brings a lot of worries both for the elders and their ward. Udhavii volunteers in their own small way are reaching out to these elders. Organising programs like talks by Dr. Pugazendi, which will be of benefit to them is one such initiative.
Although the title of the talk may sound like an Oxymoron, Dr. Pugazendi in his inimitable style, was able to show that "age" is a number while "ageing" is an attitude!! With longer longevity of human life due to advanced medical care, it is absolutely essential that as one grows older, one should keep oneself both emotionally and physically healthy. This is possible only with proper diet and exercise.
Visit to Vishranthi
We have often heard it being said that when you give, the giver gets far more joy than the receiver. The joy of giving multiplies many fold when the 'giving' is spontaneous, and done without any expectation. Eight members of Udhavi's core group found the above to be so true when they visited 'Vishranthi', an old age home run for the destitute, on 7th of October, 2015, to donate rice, dhal and biscuits during this 'Joy of Giving' week.
The place was started by the vision and compassion of one lady, Savithri Vaithi with like minded people in the year 1977, when she was moved by the plight of a destitute. What started as a small beginning, now has over 180 inmates, both men and women. They are provided shelter, food and medical facility totally free of cost. The place runs purely on the generous donations from well wishers. Talking to one of the service providers, we were filled with admiration when she said that the working of the place is fully transparent and the management is always open to suggestions to make the place better for its inmates. As far as possible, efforts are made to meet even individual request. The place is spic and span and surrounded by greenery. The inmates look comfortable and well cared for. Activities like bhajan, and other forms of entertainment are regularly arranged. Apparently, they constantly have visitors -individuals or groups - willing to donate in cash and/or in kind.
It was despairing to hear that many of the inmates have family but very few even visit them. One sad story was that of a nearly 100 years old servant maid who during her working years gave away all her earnings to bring up her eight children. Now, only one of them visits her occasionally! Having said that, it is also heartwarming to see that in the twilight years of their lives, the inmates have found camaraderie and a peaceful atmosphere at 'Vishranthi'. At the end of the day 'family' are those with whom love and affection are shared.
LISTENING SKILLS WORKSHOP
Organised by UDHAVI, and Conducted by Dr. Lakshmi Sankaran
Udhavi held a workshop for its core group members and volunteers on Listening Skills on13th June, 2015. The workshop was conducted by Dr. Lakshmi Sankaran .
Dr. Lakshmi Sankaran has over twenty years of experience in offering counselling to families and individuals on a range of issues emerging both at home and outside. A family counsellor, yoga teacher and Ph.D from NIMHANS, Bengaluru, Dr. Lakshmi is trustee of the NGO Samudra, which works on the psycho social health of individuals in urban and rural environment.
The ambience itself was very conducive to the workshop - informal and close-knit. Dr. Lakshmi made the session inter active by asking the participants to come out with the qualities required for a good listener. The points discussed were positive and active listening, empathy and not sympathy, being non judgemental, not bring one's own views on moral and ethical issues, patient hearing without too many interruptions, a pleasant demeanour, last and not the least, a genuine desire to help.
There was a lively mock session with one group playing the "listener" and the other "speaker". This brought out clearly the skills required for a good listener. This can be remembered with the acronym SOLER which translates as under:-
S - Sit comfortably (but not casually)
O - Open (have an open mind without any pre conceived notion)
L - Lean forward (but not too much to make the other person uncomfortable)
E - Eye contact
R - Relax ( and make the speaker also relax)
To encourage the person to talk more, Dr. Lakshmi said, it is a good idea to ask open ended questions. Advice should be given carefully, making it simple with just facts, and the pros and cons involved.The conversation should bring to focus the strengths of the person so that they will be proactive in resolving the issue.
The importance of not being distracted while listening was underscored. Texting, talking on the phone, watching TV, and even nodding too much should be avoided.
At a time when there is so much "news" and " noise" around us, the elderly ( why only the elderly, just everyone! ) yearn for a good listener - both as social inter action and for bringing the "balm" touch.
Listening by itself can be therapy and it is a skill that should be developed.
1ST ANNIVERSARY OF UDHAVI
The elders had been invited, the volunteers informed, and everything was in place. The core members were working overtime to ensure that all that had to be done was taken care of. The event? A celebration, a get-together of the UDHAVI family on 20 Oct 2014, to mark the 1st anniversary of UDHAVI and (a delayed but ever-relevant) World Elder’s Day. Nina Reddy of Savera Hotels was graciously sponsoring the evening. Then the rains started pouring two days prior to the D-day. Tamil Nadu’s northeast monsoon season had started with a big bang! The entire group was keeping its fingers crossed. Thankfully, the rains stopped by the afternoon of Oct 20 to let us go ahead with the programme.
What we were happy to see was the almost full attendance. All the invitees had braved the rain and reached the venue on time. The evening started with sumptuous food arranged by Nina Reddy. Mrs. Raji Raghavan rendered a beautiful bhajan. Sabita Radhakrishna then explained how UDHAVI came about and its functions. Kanchan narrated her experience with helping elders and how it was enriching her life. Sabita then introduced Nina Reddy, the sponsor, who dwelt on the positive experiences she has had with the elderly people in her life. She also gave away the badges to the core members of UDHAVI. Mr. Indira Parthasarathy and Mrs. Raji Raghavan, two of the elders who are the beneficiaries of UDHAVI, reminisced on their interactions with the UDHAVI volunteers and called for more interactions between elders and the UDHAVI team. Sanjay Dattatri, who co-runs the Old is Gold store and is a core member of UDHAVI, gave a short but incisive speech on the perils elders face inside an Indian home. Rajee Thiyagarajan described how the elders should accept the changes in their lives as they grow older but take those changes positively and lead a happy life. She wanted the elders to think of life in a senior citizens’ home as an extended vacation and enjoy the life by interacting with all the seniors around them if they have to stay there. Chandrani Bhat described how she suffered initially when she had to face troubles in her life and how she overcame them. The evening ended with a vote of thanks by Deeptha and informal interactions. The smooth progression was enhanced with the excellent compering by Lalitha.
The travails of old age
Saying "Yesterday' s seventy is today's fifty or sixty " Dr. Sridhar Vaitheeswaran brought a lot of cheer to the elders attending a program organised by UDHAVI, an NGO focussing on elder care, and catering to the primary needs of the senior citizens.. Dr. Sridhar is trained in Old Age Psychiatry in Scotland, a specialist in Urban Mental Health Needs and currently Head of the Department of Dementia care in SCARF.
Dr. Sridhar during his talk at Hotel Keys Kattima said that longer life expectancy and nuclear family norms, brings in its own challenges - the old have to look after themselves without much family support. Alzheimers, Parkinson, Dementia, Depression, and mainly loneliness and isolation are becoming increasingly evident coupled with the financial aspect.
The number of senior citizens in India alone is expected to be over three hundred and forty million by the year 2050. A certain amount of slowing down and loss of memory is inevitable with ageing but that should not come in the way of leading a normal life. Dr. Sridhar said that now we have medication for many of these illnesses and with early intervention they can be arrested before they get worse.
Dr. Sridhar emphasised the need for appropriate exercise and keeping the brain active, by learning new skills,which enables one to age gracefully. There is no need for despair or feeling that you are in the brink of impending calamity.
"Loneliness is a major challenge for the elderly," said Sabita Radhakrishna, Founder Chairperson of UDHAVI. She said it was rewarding to see the change UDHAVI has been able to bring in the lives of those elders with whom they have interacted. "Our volunteers and I look forward to more elders taking help from us" she said. “We are there to look into needs and stave off loneliness.”
The elders present had an interesting inter-active session at the end of the program when they were able to voice their concerns and anxieties. Their queries were answered by the doctor.back to events