Second innings: New roles for seniors in silver years
Bangalore saw a training program with a difference recently. It was organized by Senior Citizen Sangha, Rotary Bangalore South, Basavanagudi and Federation of Senior Citizens Forums of Karnataka. We present a report.
Your post retirement years aren’t just for putting your foot down and reading the newspaper. Seniors today stay healthy, active and contribute in some way towards the society, whether it is through social work, volunteer service, etc. Some of them even take up a career, sometimes to add value to their time and sometimes to boost the post retirement fund.
Keeping this in mind, Bangalore saw a training program with a difference recently, titled Second Innings: New roles for seniors in silver years. Organized by Senior Citizen Sangha, Rotary Bangalore South, Basavanagudi and Federation of Senior Citizens Forums of Karnataka. The aim of the training workshop was to bring together service providers and seniors to discuss new roles for seniors in the society. “Now that people live longer and face role loss in terms of retirement, bereavement, etc., they need new roles to fill the lost one and keep active for the next decades. These new roles could be of mentor, volunteer, school helper, consultant, new part time worker, instructor etc., depending on background and experience,” says eminent Gerontologist and Rotarian, Dr Indira Jai Prakash, one of the main organizers of the event. Dr Jai Prakash feels such training workshops are required as people need to be active, productive and lead a meaningful life, which becomes difficult as they drop out of labour force, their children migrate, and they find themselves moved to the back burner.
Apart from Rotarians, the workshop was attended by representatives of Nightingales Medical Trust, HelpAge India and Dignity Foundation, Bengaluru chapter.
Speaking on their participation, Dr Jai Prakash says, “most of these organizations like HelpAge were called as they have programs for seniors. Nightingales runs the Job 60+ program to create jobs for seniors. Dignity has several activities that fill the vacuum in the life of seniors.” These organizations shared their experience and the work they are doing with seniors so that participants could start thinking of how best they could have a ‘second innings’ after retirement. In keeping with the theme, the participants, who came from senior citizen organizations across Karnataka, did a group interaction, where seniors discussed what could be the new roles and how they could go about them.
We asked Dr Jai Prakash what was the importance of workshops like these and here’s what she had to say: Training workshops like these create awareness among seniors about how to change their life style; They increase the possibility of improving their physical and mental health through active involvement in social roles; This is also a way for information dissemination from service providers about schemes and programs they have for seniors.
The final aim of the workshop was that the representatives from the various senior citizen clubs were to take home the message that one can find new avenues for activity, even income generation and social interaction in their old age. They were to discuss these in their clubs with their members and hopefully design programs to create new roles for elders in their community.
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