This Gurugram-based startup is delivering essentials and care to the elderly amid coronavirus lockdown
The Central government extended the nationwide lockdown till May 3 amid the increasing number of coronavirus cases. While addressing the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested the citizens to take special care of the elderly, especially those with pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes and blood pressure, as such people are more vulnerable to contract the coronavirus infection.
Despite its necessity, the lockdown has landed many elderly people in the soup. Many are confined to their homes with no domestic help and are far away from their family members. They are finding it difficult to get daily essential supplies during the ongoing lockdown.
Gurugram-based Emoha Elder Care rose to the occasion and has been trying to reach out to these elderly people who are affected by the lockdown.
Speaking with YourStory, Saumyajit Roy, Co-Founder and CEO, Emoha Elder Care, said, “Nobody ever had an idea that something like this will happen where so many elders would get stuck in their homes with nowhere to go. When you remove the layers of housekeeping, maids, and the social support system, the whole operating system crashes down for them. This is the plight of about 100,000 to 200,000 elders in Delhi-NCR right now. The elders are restricted to their homes, there is nobody to care of their health, or help them with daily needs.”
Emoha is trying to help these elderly people through its #MissionEldersFirst initiative, which is free of cost. It has been urging young people to register themselves as volunteers to carry forward the initiative. The volunteers are encouraged to complete “Moment of Kind Action (MOKA)” by running errands such as bringing daily essentials like groceries and medicines for the elderly people in the neighbourhood.
Emoha Elder Care was launched in 2019 to provide help and care to elders at home. Its #MissionEldersFirst campaign works on various fronts.
There is a 24x7 helpline number for the elders across Delhi-NCR where they can call and speak to elder care experts at any point of time and convey their needs.
The needy have access to more than 75 doctors on Emoha’s panel. While these services are currently available in Delhi-NCR only, Emoha’s elder care engagement programme is available for people across the country. “We have created engaging eldercare programmes available on Zoom from 8 am to 8 pm where elders can play interactive games, ask questions to doctors, physical therapists, dietitians, financial consultants, etc,” said Saumyajit.
One front is led by volunteers who run errands for the elderly. “In the last 10 days, we have been able to rope in 2,500 volunteers in the city. All these volunteers are doing small tasks such as delivering medicines and groceries to families,” said Saumyajit, adding, “we are short of almost 4,000 volunteers.”
According to Saumyajit, it needs around 6,000 to 6,500 volunteers to be able to reach out to the elderly population across Delhi-NCR. “Having one volunteer for one region is not enough as the volunteers can only help people who reside at a walkable distance.”
According to Saumyajit, Emoha’s helpline is currently receiving around 250 to 270 calls per day. The numbers have increased especially in times of lockdown. He said while the volunteers are participating out of their goodwill and love for the elderly, the NGO is evaluating options to economically reward them from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)-related funding.
The volunteers are onboarded after Aadhaar-based verification. Once verified, they are contacted by the Emoha call centre and are assigned tasks requested by elders within their neighbourhood.
The volunteers are trained by Emoha to maintain hygiene and take precautionary measures such as wearing masks and gloves, and maintaining social distancing. The elderly people too are encouraged to make payments digitally and not share personal details with the volunteers.
Speaking about the success so far, Saumyajit said, “I honestly don’t think it is a very big thing we are doing as this is the least we can do for our elders.”
Edited by Javed Gaihlot