We all remember the turmoil that poured in when India announced its first lockdown. While some of us developed certain coping mechanisms in these chaotic times, there is no denying that doubt filled the air. We were uncertain about where our next pay checks would come from, where we’d get groceries for our family, and when we’d be able to see our loved ones again. On top of this, there were devastating statistics: millions of people, all from different walks of life, suffered through severe emotional trauma and financial trauma. This was worse for those living alone, such as those aging parents living oceans away from their children who couldn’t make their way to each other for indefinitely long.
Today, we stand attempting to come to terms with this pandemic while processing the news of the Omicron mutation. Although negative emotions are bound to reveal themselves in an environment marred by change and isolation, we have accepted that the virus is here to stay. Now, we must ensure the safety of those dear to us - our elderly and vulnerable parents. We strived for our fellow beings to stay indoors last year, for the sake of the seniors in our society. We pleaded for others to make small compromises in exchange for their health. We must realise that while the severity of the situation may have reduced, our worries are still real. But with vaccinations, education and an advantage, we can conquer these challenging times with patience and preparedness. Only then will we get peace of mind.
With restricted mobility, the lack of digital literacy and a higher risk of infection, it is needless to say that the isolated elderly living away from their children find themselves to be the most vulnerable in this crisis. An NGO study has revealed that over 80% of the elderly complained about gut-wrenching anxiety accompanied by loss of sleep and appetite due to rising pandemic. More than 70% of our elderly population faced difficulties in accessing basic essential goods and services, while a vast majority of them were ailing from chronic illness that only worsened during the lockdown.
Daily routines were disrupted. Trustworthy assistance was lacking. And to make matters worse, the vulnerable elderly found themselves oceans away from their families, with no one here to support them physically, emotionally, and logistically. While we may have returned to pre-pandemic ways of life, we must keep in mind that a majority of senior citizens continue to seclude themselves from the outside world, out of fear for their lives.
The Omicron wave is still young. But if it doesn’t stay this way, I urge you to ask yourselves a simple question: are you and your parents prepared this time?
These problems cannot magically disappear. Most certainly not if we turn a blind eye to them. Now, more than ever, the aged require our assistance and care. Of course, being present with them during their old age may not be in everyone’s fortune, but there are measures that you can take to secure them. Keep in mind that the fight isn’t over yet, but this time, it is in your control to stay one step ahead. It is now that we brace and empower our parents to tackle this situation and see the light at the end of the tunnel.
This too, shall pass - we are Standing By.