Dr. V.S. Natarajan, Sabita Radhakrishna and Major General Ian Cardozo are outstanding senior citizens who stay passionately engaged with life. They are mindful of staying fit and healthy in body, mind and spirit. A defining feature of their lives is dedicated service to others. They are excellent role models who can inspire us to follow the passionate interests of our life in our active ageing agenda.
Dr. VS Natarajan was the first doctor in India to specialise in geriatric care. With relentless effort he established the first Geriatric Department in the country at Madras Medical College in 1978 and after ten years of dedicated effort he established the first ward dedicated to geriatric care, in 1988. Little wonder that he is known as the Father of geriatric care in India. Dr. Natarajan at 79, recollects that he looked forward to retirement with eagerness and anticipation. He established the Dr. VS Natarajan Geriatric Foundation in Tamilnadu and has dedicated his post-retirement years to his passionate concern for the wellfare of the elderly. Of the many initiatives the Foundation runs, Dr. Natarajan is proud of the emergency service for elders who need immediate attention at home. This service has saved the lives of many senior citizens through prompt help at home. He has written over 30 books and published several periodicals that give invaluable information to the elderly and their care givers. He received the Padmashree in 2012 for his lifelong service for the care of the elderly.
Sabita Radhakrishnan at 78 is passionately engaged with life. She continues to champion the cause of the handloom weavers and offers help in innovative design ideas, marketing, and financial management. Her play, Song of the Looms, which highlights the plight of the weavers, was staged as a play by the well know English Theatre group Madras Players. She established a home care service for senior citizens with a band of dedicated volunteers, UDHAVI in 2013. UDHAVI offers companionship to lonely elderly people. After receiving training she provides home care assistance to elders with dementia to give relief to the family care givers. Sabita developed an interest in traditional and age old Tamilian recipes. Besides cooking delicious and authentic Tamilian cuisine, she has written two books which received Gourmand World Awards for the best cookbooks from India. Sabita is an amazing play writer, author and social worker rolled into one.
Major General Ian Cardozo had a leg amputated after a mine blast during the Indo-Pak war of 1971. He was then a Major with the 5th Gorkha Regiment. He insisted on remaining in service and battled stereotyping and prejudice to command a regiment and later a brigade. Post retirement, he has dedicated his life to the service of children with special needs and disabled war veterans. He served as the Northern India Head of Spastic Society of India and as the head of the Rehabilitation Council of India. He is the Vice-President of the War Wounded Foundation. His willingness to fight for a cause, led him to prison at times during protest marches and vigils for the cause of the disadvantaged. At 83 he says that he will serve the cause of the disabled as long as possible. Post retirement General Cardozo ha written several well researched books. The sinking of INS Khukri, Param Vir-Our heroes in battle and The Indian Army in World War -1 have been publicly acclaimed.
There is much we can learn from these gallant senior citizens.
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