Senior citizens everywhere are a particularly vulnerable section of society in these times of COVID-19 lockdown. Not only has this made it difficult for them to manage their day-to-day needs, their age and related health conditions make them more vulnerable to contracting the virus.
A number of initiatives have sprung up in Bengaluru to specifically help senior citizens get medicines, groceries, mental health counselling, and help with hospital visits. We give below a list of such ongoing initiatives that senior citizens and those who know of seniors in need, can reach out to.
1. Relief Riders: “We carry supplies, not the virus”
Relief Riders is a campaign initiated by the #CycleToWork platform, for bicyclists to support senior citizens in their communities. The volunteers go around in bicycles to deliver essentials like medicines, groceries and milk.
These volunteers don’t need passes as they don’t travel too far to make their deliveries. They have tied up with Bengaluru Police’s 1090 Elders Helpline, which routes some requests to them.
According to Sathya Sankaran, Bicycle Mayor of Bengaluru, the lockdown restrictions have brought down pollution and emptied the streets. “Offices were closed and the cycle commuters were resigned to work from home,” says Sankaran “I offered them a chance to put their pedals to good use by asking if they would volunteer to ferry essential supplies to senior citizens.”
For doorstep delivery of essential supplies, call 9845272416, 7503944911, 9886491982
- Please keep requests minimal, and during morning and evening hours.
- Contact the mentioned riders from your area, check with them on what they can help with.
- All volunteers will wear masks, use sanitisers and keep a safe distance from you.
- If they need to enter your apartment, please ensure you make arrangements for them to leave it with security guards where available.
- More details at health.urbanmorph.com
2. Support by Silver Talkies
This is initiated by the social enterprise Silver Talkies that offers local, non-contact volunteering, especially for senior citizens who live alone and are unable to step out. The initiative was made possible with the support of a network of young Bengalureans.
These young volunteers follow good hand and respiratory hygiene, and are equipped with masks and hand sanitisers. They have helped many senior citizens living alone in the city with doorstep delivery of essentials. To enable their volunteering effort to go that extra mile, they have partnered with Dunzo, a city-based delivery app service.
What do the youth volunteers do?
- Buy essential and critical care items from local stores and deliver them at the doorstep of seniors.
- Make friendly calls to seniors to calm them down during the crisis
- Research and provide online information from authentic sources.
- Keep seniors virtually engaged and provide them access to online games, quizzes, puzzles, e-theatres, e-books, online yoga and meditation classes.
To seek help, you can call 9591111300, 6362890768
Nidhi Chawla, co-founder and operations head at Silver Talkies, says: “This youth brigade has been instrumental in taking care of essential needs of seniors living alone and ensuring they are worry-free and well-equipped to manage their lives during the lockdown period without exposing themselves to the external environment. We invite more enterprising and inspiring individuals to join hands with the initiative so that we can reach out to seniors far and wide.”
3. Elders Helpline 1090 by Bengaluru City Police
The Bengaluru City Police and Nightingales Medical Trust have a special helpline 1090 for senior citizens. The following assistance is offered through this helpline:
- Mental health support
- Ambulance service
- Purchase of medicines
- Reporting harassment or abuse
- Visit to doctor
- Report COVID-19 symptoms
- Clarifying doubts about pension/banking/EMIs
- Purchase groceries
- Seeking help for those in need
The 1090 helpline number is functional daily from 8 am to 8 pm. Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao said in a tweet: “Seniors, we are just a call away. Those out of the country, you need not worry, please tell your parents to call us in need, we will be there..stay cheerful ?”
4. KickStart Cabs and Big Bazaar: Delivering groceries to people with disabilities
The private company KickStart Cabs and the retail group Big Bazaar have partnered to deliver groceries and vegetables to the homes of senior citizens and people with disabilities, for a fee. KickStart Cabs offers commuting solutions for seniors and those with disabilities; during the lockdown, they’re facilitating travel for hospital visits, checkups etc for these groups.
|How to order groceries?
WhatsApp your grocery list to 81056-00445
5. COVID-19 Responders
Numerous cases have been reported of lockdown affecting the mental well-being of senior citizens. Due to the absence of domestic help, several elderly people living alone are unable to do their household chores, procure essentials, get medicines etc. COVID-19 responders have taken it upon themselves to check on these senior citizens and make sure their needs are met. They deliver food, dry ration, milk and medicines to the elderly. They also counsel them over the phone and advise them against going out.
The COVID-19 Responders initiative is an extension of the Community Policing programme, which was launched jointly by Bengaluru City Police and Janaagraha in 2013. As of February 2019, 108 police stations in Bengaluru had designated Community Liaison Officers (CLOs) in each police station. Each CLO, in turn, is required to enlist 30-40 citizen volunteers who are called Area Suraksha Mitras (ASMs)
Currently, 241 ASMs who are active across neighbourhoods have signed up as COVID-19 Responders. These responders will be your neighbourhood citizen volunteers who will give authentic information on helplines, emergency support, medical centres, procurement of essentials, government orders etc. You can call the responder to clarify doubts or to make a request. The responder will help in their personal capacity, or will forward the request to those who can take action.
|How to connect with your COVID-19 Responder?
COVID-19 Responders are just a call away!
Click here to see who your COVID-19 Responder is: http://bit.ly/2JpTu2N
Thank you for your help us seniors we sure need help to pay bills and rent and groceries
Thank you. The information is helpful. The lockdown has been extended. Please update the article if you know of new initiatives anywhere in Bengaluru.
Thanks, Pravir. Please email me initiatives that may have not been covered in this article.