Research organizations, medical professionals, national governments, WHO and other UN bodies, corporations and philanthropic organizations are all still trying to understand the corona virus outbreak, which WHO has called as a global pandemic. However, epidemiologists are certain about one thing – the pandemic has just begun and we all have a long way to go before it is contained.
Amidst all this chaos and noise, some voices are lost in the din – they are of our senior citizens, who because of their additional ailments and comorbidities, have high chances of succumbing to COVID-19.
The risk of dying from COVID-19 increases drastically with age, with 80 per cent of deaths in persons over 65 years old. People, who are over the age of 60 are at a higher risk of developing a severe case of COVID -19, according to data collected by the WHO. The highest death rate is in people above the age of 80. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in his speeches has repeatedly urged senior citizens not to venture out and stay safe. However, it has not been easy for many of them.
People living relatively normal lives within the ambit of family structures are struggling to cope. Now imagine the plight of the ultra-vulnerable segment of the elderly. In addition to the trauma of abandonment, economic deprivation and managing old age issues such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, weakening physical and mental faculties that they were learning to live with, comes the debilitating experience of further social isolation precipitated by the present unusual times.
About nine percent of India’s population comprises senior citizens, many of whom are living in old age homes, or are abandoned by their families. The pandemic has made their situation worse and it needs immediate attention.
CAF India with support from Shri Arun Bharat Ram and family, has therefore started the AgeCare project, which will help old people, who are poor and abandoned, sail through the COVID-19 crisis. In the course of the next few weeks, the project will provide direct access to food and health security for 300 poor and abandoned old people of two old-age homes in Delhi and Garh Mukteshwar. It will also improve the awareness level and capabilities aged widows in Vrindavan on COVID-19 risk prevention, protection measures and care.
While this initiative is just a drop in the ocean, we fervently hope that this small step successfully alleviates their suffering and gives them hope and sense of security for their future. Stay tuned to our blogs for more updates on this project.
Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) India is a registered not-for-profit organization established in New Delhi, India in 1998 nurturing the culture of giving with impact. The imbibing of this culture emboldens our approach of creating a positive change in the community by reaching to the last mile person.