While the pandemic had underscored the need to address general healthcare challenges, it was the senior citizens who had been the worst-affected. With this in mind, Aapka Sahara Foundation, in collaboration with the Rotaract Club of Medicrew conducted medical camps for senior citizens across the country.
The Aapka Sahara MediCamp is a PAN-India event that took place between December 2020 and June 2021. It focused on helping the geriatric population, who have been worst hit by the pandemic, to achieve a more equitable, healthy and sustainable status.
The aim of the Camps was to:
1. Provide “support” to the geriatric population living in old age homes in the form of free medical check-ups.
2. Conduct general examination of the residents and assess their quality of life and functional capacity.
3. Take a step towards improving the overall health.
Geriatric care is still massively undervalued by the wider healthcare industry. There is also limited focus on the holistic wellbeing of the elderly. They suffer from various physical, psychosocial, economic and spiritual problems. This has made the elderly population particularly vulnerable and alone. The fatality rate of our senior population is on the rise on account of such other diseases that are very often ignored. Since senior citizens are most vulnerable to COVID-19, all the volunteers were screened before being sent to the old age homes. Social distancing was strictly followed at all times.
Medical Camp at Guwahati
Date: 31st January, 2021
Location: Jai Mata Di Old Age Home
Event Head: Dhruvi Zingade
Beneficiaries of Camp: 29
The main aim of the camp was to conduct a general examination of the geriatric population and assess their quality of life and functional capacity through structured questionnaires. The volunteers reached the Old Age Home by 10:45am. After proper sanitization and following all safety protocols, the camp began at 11:00am. To avoid the use of pen and paper and reduce contact, the proformas were made in the form of Google Forms where the volunteer had to fill in the details of the patient after examining them. All the senior citizens were extremely grateful and delighted for the camp. They said it reminded them of their own families. The volunteers were skilled and extremely considerate. All in all, the event was a success and the elderly were greatly benefited.
Medical Camp in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
Date: 20th January, 2021
Location: Sudhama Old Age Home
Event Head: Dhruvi Zingade
Beneficiaries of the Camp: 18
The significant medical history of the residents was noted by using detailed questionnaires viz., WHOQOL-BREF & Disabilities Module and Duke’s Activity Status Index. On their part, the residents were delighted to have the volunteers come visit them. They opened up to volunteers and shared their various stories with them. A memorable moment in the proceedings was when one of the seniors sang an enchanting song that reminded one and all, of the childhood game ‘Doctor, Doctor’. ‘Operation, Operation, Operation just now...’, the old lady sang with her toothless grin. By the time she finished singing, all the volunteers had tears in their eyes and a wide smile on their faces.
All the volunteers agreed that they found the entire experience very heart-warming and enriching. While social interactions in these times have been limited, this camp served as a reminder to all that it only takes some tender loving care – either as a giver or a receiver, to be hopeful of the future.
Here are some testimonials from the volunteers -
It was a lovely experience! Felt incredibly delighted and satisfied in helping them. Looking forward to many such activities! Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
The experience was educational, uplifting and satisfying. Having heard from the most experienced and beautiful souls made me beam with a sense of fulfilment. We also learnt about the wide range of health-related problems they face and how they tackle it. We got to see a lot of significant findings as well. It was an experience that would be cherished.
Charuta Pradeep :
It was an amazing experience. They were super cute. Some started crying while talking to us. Others were telling us jokes and performing for us. It was wholesome!
I received the golden chance of volunteering for an old age camp at Aapka Sahara Foundation at Sudhama Old Age Home through the RC Medicrew. I, with three other partners volunteered and spent a day at the old age home and did the general health checkup of the elderly there. It was a great experience. Clinically, it was amazing to see the range of medical conditions and impart the appropriate advice. Apart from this, we saw the world with their perspective and realised how valuable life and healthy living is. The experience as a whole was an enriching one and made me a better person and a medical student as we walked out leaving beautiful smiles on their faces.