Sundera Gopalan is a super hero of sorts to seniors. She is no caped crusader, but when this 76-year-old grandma receives a distress signal- which in this case comes as a feeble cry for help from a lonely, sometimes suicidal, senior citizen – she swoops in, pallu pinned to save the day.
“I don’t do anything dramatic. I just engage in a conversation, crack a few jokes or take them for a walk in the park. And then I do it again. Twice a week at least for months, until they feel alive again,” says Sundera, who volunteers as a senior helping other seniors at the Dignity Foundation in Chennai, an organization helping the elderly lead active lives.
In the case of 85-year old Vedavalli Srinivasagopalan, it’s whenever she flies in from the US to visit her daughter. Vedavalli spends her day stitching pouches, handbags and handkerchiefs, which she sells to friends and neighbours, donating the proceeds to old-age homes.
For five years now, Chennai based Udhavi, an organization that assists elder, founded by 75 -year old Sabita Radhahrishna, has been working with a group of volunteers, most of who are in their seventies, to help other seniors with everything from a walk on the beach to a temple visit, assistance at the bank, sabha hopping or a shopping spree.
From a very inspiring article in the Times of India by Kamini Mathai.