TriBeCa Care has been giving excellent elder care service – both medical care and non medical, to members for the last five years and has been recognized as one of India’s leading elder care company.
However, over the years as our members increased in numbers, we as a team felt the need for something more than just physical care. Taking care of mental health is as important as physical health.
We had already initiated tea parties on a small scale for our members, which they enjoyed thoroughly.
Breaking the Isolation Barrier
The small scale tea parties made us realize that it is important for mental health for the elderly members to interact with those similar to them and to indulge in physical activity that they would not have ventured into otherwise.
We needed to work out a solution wherein like – minded elderly people can meet each other and can spend time in interaction. This has been proven to reduce loneliness and depression in the elderly.
One of the options we had already thought of was arranging elder friendly travel options. However, we had never taken it forward for various reasons.
Our First Trip
As a test case we opted for short trip. Our senior care managers, Hena Roychowdhury and Santosh Bhuimali took active interest and planned of a overnight trip to MAYAPUR.
12th November around 11am, the luxury coach started from Rathtala with twelve Members on board. The departed got delayed because the Care Managers were handling a hospitalization case early morning. Our members understood the situation without any annoyance. With songs and laughter we started our journey. Breakfast was served in the bus, Sandwich and sweets. We stopped at a road side Tea stall for tea break. After half an hour we started for our destination.
As luck would have it , we got stuck at Ranaghat. There was a bridge on the highway and a truck carrying hays caught fire in the middle of the bridge. Fire brigade and police were there to settle the issue. It took more than hour to leave the place.
Meanwhile , our Members were busy knowing each other and they were busy chatting and singing. There was no sign of impatience. A wonderful group of like minded ladies.
We missed the lunch at ISKON because of the delay. So we decided to stop at Krishnanagar for lunch. We stopped at a Restaurant , named Annapurna around 3pm. A nice place , they served only various kind of Thalis. Our guests placed their orders, and within 10 minutes lunch was served. We all were famished. Lunch was over within 20 minutes. We also bought some sweets for the evening.
The sun was setting in , by the time we reached ISKON. The whole ambience was cool and serene.
After finishing all formalities, we started settling the members in their allotted rooms in the guest house GADA BHAWAN. All the rooms were neat and clean . The ladies were behaving like school children out on an excursion. It was a pleasure to see their happiness.
They all got ready for the evening ARTI . By 6pm the Arti time, we all gathered at the Temple . Shoes are not allowed so we all walked bare feet in that cold but they did not mind at all. The Temple was at a distance from the Guest House . In spite of their physical discomfort, they proceeded towards the temple with child like energy.
We spent more than an hour in the temple watching the Arti and thereafter, song and dances by the Devotees. Some of us joined them.
Around 8pm we got back to ur rooms The ladies needed little rest before dinner. The dinner time is 9pm. We almost missed it because we reached the dinning hall after nine. ISKON maintains strict rules in all their activities. Anyway ,they were kind enough to let us enter the dinning hall through a back door. The dinner was simple, Rice, two kind of veg curries, dal and sweets. It was light and tasty.
After dinner we went out for walk. . There was chill in the air. We got to our rooms after half an hour and retired for the day.
The morning started with disappointment because tea / coffee is not allowed in ISKON. I tok the initiative an smuggled in tea and biscuits from a tea stall outside. Their happiness to see the hot beverage was a sight. We all had tea in ine room . after the morning adda they started getting ready for the day.
Around 9am we went to the small café in Gada Bhawan where variety of breakfast was ready for the guests. Dhosa, Idli, Parathas , Pizzas were all we had by choice.
After breakfast we all went for sight seeing outside ISKON campus. Amongst few were Chaitanya Dev’s birth place. And few important temples. We hired Totos and our overgrown children loved the toto rides.
We returned to ISKON around 12,30pm. 1’o clock is their lunch time. We ordered for VIP lunch , so we went to a different dinning room. Where the setting is formal and luxurious. The lunch was superb and delicious. It was a 12 course lunch. The devotees were serving with utmost care.
After the lunch , we hardly had time so we started preparation for departure. We started around 3pm. On the return journey, our ladies fell in afternoon siesta after that sumptuous lunch. We took a tea break mid way. We reached Kolkata around 7pm.
For those elderly members confined within the four walls, the outing was like setting a bird free from the cage. The long walks bare feet, the general feeling of camaraderie, friendship and joy in sharing an environment with new friends who understand each other, the arti, the food, everything brought a few strangers together in a way that was previously unseen by us.
They were all genuinely happy, and their smiles convinced us that this was indeed a move in the right direction.
We hope to continue with elder travel and help more seniors in networking, interacting, and combating depression and loneliness, and we look forward to the smiles on their faces.