Emotional Support

As the world is changing faster than ever, people are finding lesser time to spend with their loved ones, more so with the elderly. Advent of technology and easy availability of smart phones has made the lives of senior citizens even more lonely. In the absence of someone with whom they can share their feelings, can lead to loneliness and gradually converting into serious health concerns.

Lockdown had caused lot of emotional turmoil in the life of many elderly people. One such case was that of a 76-year-old person from a village in Telangana. During lockdown he started behaving quite unusual from his normal self.

Few years back, he had planted a jasmine plant in his house. During lockdown his entire focus was on watering it, adding manure and taking care of the plant. Unfortunately, one day he noticed the plant died. Due to this, suddenly there was some change in his behaviour. He started assuming that something was happening to him like the buildings were falling on him or he is getting killed or he and his children were dying. Constantly he was having only one thought that something wrong is happening. He thought that the way the plant has met its end, he and family too would meet the end soon. He was so devastated with the condition of the plant then even in his dreams he would talk aloud about the Jasmine plant only.

When the connect centre team member got to know of his issue, she called him up to counsel him. He revealed that he could see some snakes and insects coming from the wall and troubling him, he felt someone is trying to beat him up and all this is being operated by someone who wants to harm him. He was filled with fear. On probing further, the connect centre team member learnt that he was a chain smoker but during lockdown as the entire family including grand children were living together, he was not getting much scope to smoke. So he diverted his entire focus towards nurturing this Jasmine plant. His family had been trying to help him cope with the loss, yet he was unable to come to terms with it.

After understanding the situation, the connect centre team member began the counselling session. He was asked to follow certain relaxation techniques like meditating in the morning and as he likes to take care of plants, he was advised to look after other plants and whenever he gets pangs of anxiety, he should move away from the place where he gets such thoughts. He was also told to talk to the team member every second day to help him handle the situation.

One good point was that the elderly person himself admitted that there was some issue and he needed counselling. He received the advice in a very positive way and expressed his interest to follow the steps mentioned during the counselling session. During the follow-up call, the elderly person updated that, whenever he was getting such unusual thoughts, he started diverting his mind by going for a walk, talking to people around, visiting temple etc. Now, he was feeling confident to move out of the house all by himself. There was a marked difference in him during the third follow up call. He had implemented all that was told to him and his son also updated that he had almost come back to a state of normalcy, was doing his work all by himself, he was not causing any kind of inconvenience to the family members. He thanked the team member for counselling his father and bringing about the change. The connect centre team member assured the elderly person as well as his son that help is just a call away and they could approach anytime if required.

 (Note: Names are not disclosed to protect the identity of the caller)

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE), Govt of India has set up the National Helpline for Senior Citizens (NHSC).

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment Plot No. G-2, Sector-10, Dwarka, New Delhi-110075
011-20893999, 011- 20893995
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