Diwali at old age homes

Surekha feeding sweets to residents at an old age home

Nikita Prasad

Chennai, Oct 19: Everyone looks forward to celebrating Diwali with their loved ones. However, the elderly at city’s old age homes only look for a change from their mundane routines.

Some of them wait for their kin to visit them, staring blankly through the windows. For a lot of them, the wait stretches for hours, days and even months. But, like every year, the 45 senior citizens staying at Maria’s Old Age Home at Parthasarathy Lane celebrate the festival on their own.

”I have to be happy. I cannot help it. Whatever life I have with me, is worth living. I’d like to live a life free of strife and away from the noise,” says a resident at Maria’s Charitable Trust who’s been bedridden for ten years.

Ranging from the age groups of 60 to 100 years, some residents are patients of diabetes; some have weak limbs while a few others are bedridden.

”I have to be happy. I cannot help it. Whatever life I have with me, is worth living. I’d like to live a life free of strife and away from the noise,” says a resident at Maria’s Charitable Trust who’s been bedridden for ten years.

‘We prepared sweets for the puja. Our neighbors brought special food for us on Diwali and distributed sweets. We enjoy a lot on festivals here”, says 63 year old Josephine, another resident of the old age home.

Josephine with another resident at Maria’s Old Age Home

Maria’s Charitable Trust, despite being a Christian organization, celebrates all festivals and is supported by sponsors, NGOs, educational institutions and the Press. Vasanth TV covered their Christmas celebrations and distributed special packaged food like biryani, snacks and sweets on festivals.

The Trust is run by A V Thomas, a social activist from Chennai. Christmas at Maria’s is marked every year with special prayers and carols sung on the terrace of the three-storey residential complex. The residents also get special food.

The story is no different for the residents at Elder’s Paradise, an old age home based in the narrow, by lanes of Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai.

‘’I can sing here as much as I want and nobody complains. This place is very comfortable and convenient’’, says 71 year old Oomen, resident of Elder’s Paradise.

”His daughter and son left him to stay at the old age home just because he used to sing loudly at home,” says Surekha, health assistant of Elder’s Paradise.

‘’I can sing here as much as I want and nobody complains. This place is very comfortable and convenient’’, says 71 year old Oomen, resident of Elder’s Paradise.

On Diwali day the residents came down in the lift, one on a wheelchair and another with a walker and gathered in the front foyer of the complex for the Ganpati Puja of Diwali.

A priest called for the Puja in the evening conducted the rituals, offered prayers to the deity and distributed the sweets to the residents.

Diwali Puja at Elder’s Paradise

The caretakers and health assistants of the home kept running around to make sure the elderly received the sweets. A few old residents had to be fed because they had difficulty in holding plates or slicing the sweets to be eaten.

‘All they need is attention. They just want someone to listen to them and not being alone in a room watching television,” says Sujata, founder of Elder’s Paradise.

                                                                                              A priest conducting the Ganpati puja for Diwali at Elder’s Paradise Old Age Home in Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai. Residents offer prayers and share sweets.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*