Feel the love and care at SriOm Care senior meets

By Neena Badhwar

SriOm Care Senior Group at Pennant Hills every Monday from 10 am to 1.30pm

SriOm Care Senior Group meets are a place where Indian seniors come together and enjoy few hours together. They do yoga, sing, eat, learn various techniques to manage health issues and just make friends. These are the friends they make in their twilight years who help and pray for each other as they age and face the inevitable. Till that arrives we as a group enjoy, play games, celebrate birthdays, do quiz sessions, bingo, dress up, listen to health talks and have fun celebrating traditions and festivals, important occasions of both India and Australia and simply live life in a more friendly, healthy and joyful atmosphere.

Decorate your table
Puja at festivals
Ten Pin balling
Sari dress up as everyone looked beautiful when a case full of jewellery and accessories was brought by Sarjita to dress the ladies up, at first shy but they soon opened up and wanted pictures taken
Savita Behan being wished Happy ninetieth birthday by the group members as they dance around her
Savji Bhai celebrates his birthday with wife Yasumati and family at the centre

When a member turns a decade or a year everyone celebrates their birthday. Just last year two members celebrated their ninety years and their family came along to celebrate their life full of experiences and achievements. Savita Behn who turned ninety is always there now even when she is ninety one. So does Mr. Chauhan, every one calls him Savji Bhai. He is a gentle soul who will not utter a word and just observe us all with a smile on his face. His daughters came and celebrated his birthday and his friends at SriOm all praised him as they said that he is a generous, humble man who when he goes out in a group to eat is happy to pay for all. And Savita behan is mostly quiet but when she speaks, which is rare, her voice booms through the whole room, her having spent a life of an important educated lady in Africa when her husband held an important post entertained all the dignitaries who came from India including Mrs. Indira Gandhi. Savita Behan was always in the forefront. These days she is happy to take a back seat as her son-in-law comes regularly to drop her. On her birthday he gave an audiovisual presentation of her life through pictures and one saw the exuberant Savita Behan enjoying travelling the world, swimming in a swimsuit with the family. She is always there at the centre doing her yoga on the chair, an inspiration to us all when we are not in a mood in the morning to do exercises.

The touch and feel and hugs and prayer group is welcoming to all. Holding hands, hugging, kissing, smiling, praying for each other is how one can describe this group at Pennant Hills where I have been going for the last four years. At times members are missing, they are going to India for a holiday they say, then at other occasions they are going through difficult periods having fallen sick and ended up in ICU. Recently an old lady fell ill with pneumonia, frail and weak already and her old husband by her side to take care of her, the group talked to her on phone, each member wishing her a fast recovery. She obviously felt overwhelmed as she spoke to each one of us, that day she knew there were fifty of us wishing her well and praying and remembering her. And how do you describe her. Always smiling, a quiet soul, who reminds you of your old aunt in India. She actually does resemble an old grand aunt of mine.

Morning starts with either yoga or light exercises coupled with breathing and we have learnt dance steps with Annie Alchin. Yoga is conducted by Jagdish Chaudhary who is a qualified yoga teacher from Yoga Sansthan in India. And Annie Alchin takes us all slowly through right left exercises as she relaxes everyone with her gentle talk and everyone follows her command in unison and finally we have gotten rid of all our bad energy as we dance to ‘macarena’ or ‘mana janan ne pukara nahi’.

The group recently celebrated Ram Navmi and the New Year with people different regions explaining how they celebrate their new year. Baisakhi, Ugadi, Bihu, we were all given a little bit of a glimpse into various traditional ways it is celebrated in different parts of India. Then there were bhajans rendered in Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati as we all sang along.

And there was talk on Macular Degeneration, the speaker who gave quite an informative session on this condition which can hit as we age. One in 6 chance of getting at the age of 65 which goes up to 1 in 2 by the age of 80.

We were made aware of the risk factors such as smoking, race, family history and genes, females, high blood pressure and diabetes. Foods for healthy eyes are carrots, eggs, berries, citrus fruits, green vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, oily fish, nuts and regular exercise. The speaker explained that if we look at a grid or straight lines, if they look crooked then we should report to the doctor. The eye doctor will look for ”˜Drusen’ yellow deposits beneath the retina which if present may indicate Age Related Macular Degenration (AMD). AMD is of two kinds: Dry AMD ”“ a very slow progression of vision loss due to pigment changes in retina. And Wet AMD ”“ a very rapid onset of vision loss, presents with new, abnormal blood vessel growth underneath the retina which can leak blood and may lead to swelling and scarring of the macula. There is no treatment for Dry AMD only prevention, exercise, stop smoking and eat nutritious foods as mentioned. Added Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, Copper, Lutein, Zeaxanthin are the supplements that may benefit Dry AMD. In cases of Wet AMD one has to take injections, at least for three months before the doctor can give a clear.

So be aware and make sure that you follow a healthy well-balanced diet which has Fish (2-3 times per week), for vegetarians they can take flaxseed for their omegas; green leafy vegetables; low GI carbohydrates; Vitamin C through citrus fruit, tomatoes and berries; Zinc is found in seafood (especially oysters) meat, peanuts and yoghurt; Vitamin E is found in almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and Brazil nuts, wheat germ oil and olive oil; Lutein and Zeaxanthin in dark leafy vegetables eg kale, spinach also in peas, pumpkin, brocooli and corn and Selenium in brazil nuts, mushrooms, oats and brown rice.

For more information call Vision Australia 1300 84 74 66 or Macular Disease Foundation on 1800 111 709.

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