Senior homecare services during the pandemic

The elder care market in India is worth $1.5 billion. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic senior homecare services are much higher in terms of the demand factor.   The elderly, are most vulnerable at this stage of the pandemic as their age gives them an immunity level much lower when compared to younger people. The senior homecare industry is facing a huge profitable rise in this context. In India there are 110 million elders who are above the age of 60, out of which 40% live in the urban sector. They are not only vulnerable physically as of now as they are emotionally. They have a weaker immune system due to the age factor they are more likely to already have comorbidities which increases the risk of severe covid-19 related death. They are not only suffering mentally but even emotionally to a large extent.   Tara Singh Vachani, Executive Chairperson, Antara Senior Living said, “The senior demographic in India is one of the fastest growing demographics, with over 20 million elders staying alone, and the number is slated to rise in the next two decades. The lockdown and second wave of Covid-19 exposed the gaps in India’s senior care system and has highlighted the need for dedicated senior care services. We saw a surge in customer inquiries and demand for services across our assisted care portfolio in the last two months.” She clearly states the reality we are facing.   She goes on to say, “At Antara, we have been cognizant of the evolving needs of the senior community and have been at the forefront of providing tailored solutions for seniors’ varied needs through our Care at Home, Care Home and MedCare Products verticals thereby fortifying our original value proposition of Residences for Seniors. Knowing that seniors who tested positive for COVID19 needed greater intervention on a daily basis; COVID Care at Home and Critical Care at Home solutions were deployed. For those who were asymptomatic or had milder infection, we created options for remote monitoring and isolation centres / COVID Care facilities offering holistic care solutions. These services include comprehensive remote assessment, essential medical kit for health tracking and self-isolation, monitoring by nurses, telephonic doctor consults to track progress, respiratory rehabilitation by experts, nutrition plan and counselling to manage anxiety.”   Hence her view is the necessity of overall development of the elderly population during these extremely trying times.   “The pandemic and the consequent restrictions it brought on daily living and social interactions highlighted the difference in experience of seniors living in independent homes or apartments that were part of mixed-family condominium complexes and that of residents of a senior living community. To have their daily needs fulfilled, have medical support at hand and a daily calendar that ensured physical distancing did not cause social isolation, brought peace of mind to the residents and their families. Columbia Pacific Communities has seen an exponential growth in demand for both ready-to-move in communities and those under development,” according to Mohit Nirula, CEO, Columbia Pacific Communities.   He also shows concern about how due to the demand, people have to be more careful and responsible along with remaining positive in these highly disturbing times.   Saumyajit Roy, Co-Founder and CEO, Emoha Elder Care feels that, “There has been a huge spike in the demand for at home elder care services in India in the couple of years. We at Emoha Elder Care have had an early movers’ advantage in this segment. We have been supporting this vulnerable population for a while now. We reinvented ourselves when the first wave of the pandemic had struck India, that also led to a sudden surge in demand for at home elder care services in India.”   Their 150 ground team members have been working 24/7 to keep the elders safe in these unpredictable times. They have saved 120 precious elder lives, done 100,000 care calls, 4500+ emergency simulations, have 500+ doctors on call, speak in 20+ Indian languages, and have done 900+ elder focused events which are extremely important for elders’ emotional wellbeing.   They are also taking all kinds of precautions to ensure that elders are safe in their homes and are able to tide over the crisis smoothly.   He further states that, “As a result of our activities, we were much better prepared to deal with the second deadly wave that wreaked havoc in the country and exposed the pitfalls in India’s healthcare system. Since the beginning of the month of April this year, our efforts to protect elders have been on a war footing. The platform has been focusing on offering complete Covid care support and operations through a ‘connected community’ for elders and their families, bringing together world-class expertise and delivering single-click access to a range of health, emergency, social-engagement, convenience services at home, so that elders can live life to the fullest.”   In addition to this, Archana Sharma, Founder and Managing Director, Samvedna Senior Care said “Ever since the pandemic broke out, the elderly became the most vulnerable group globally. In India the problem became more acute because of lack of social welfare programs and services to support the elderly. Suddenly we saw desperate calls for help to manage basics like groceries, medication, household work. It came as a wakeup call for many children to provision support their parents’ needs. We expect a surge in homecare services for seniors, last year we saw a 30% growth in our emergency support services. The services growth opportunities will be in physical and healthcare needs as well as mental health support.”   On a conclusive note we are pondering over the big question right now which is that, are we as a nation equipped to deal with the increase in elderly population in India? India in the last few decades has seen a demographic shift. This period has shown that the elder population is quite high. A report by the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) projects that India’s senior population will increase threefold to 300 million by 2050. To create a strong healthcare ecosystem for senior citizens, the support of the government is highly essential as well. Overall, we need to work together to ensure that everyone is safe and living with good health – mentally, emotionally and yes, most importantly as of now, physically.

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Impact of Yoga on mental health

How does yoga help in mental well-being? In these challenging times imposed by COVID-19, many people have lost their lives, lost their loved ones and the news of death in close quarters has brought tremendous insecurity in most of people. Nothing seems to be guaranteed, neither the beds in hospitals nor the availability of medicines, and not even the basic existential oxygen for survival.   Adding to these challenges, there are hardly any personal connections through physical meetings. A sort of loneliness similar to a vacuum is felt in which one can attract any emotion, and either get stuck with those emotions or work with the inner self positively.   How to refine the mind through yoga Yoga has its roots in the word “Yuj” which means “union”. This is brought about through the union of the physical body and the mind through breath. Yogic scholars say yoga is the spiritual aspect of Ayurveda, while Ayurveda is a therapeutic branch of yoga. Yoga brings about mind-body transformation. Yoga has eight limbs or Ashtanga. These are Yamas, Niyama, Asanas, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. Yama and Niyama are preludes in the path of yoga wherein one’s attitude to society and to one’s self are practised. Asana and Pranayama are practised at the physical level to prepare one for attaining a higher state of consciousness through mastering the senses and transforming the mind.   Sage Patanjali in yoga sutra provides us with the differences in the Citta (modern science calls it mind), ways to examine its contents, source of activities, how to refine it and reach higher levels of awareness.   In the past, yoga practices were a part of daily rituals and was a way of life in India. Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that has its roots in India. Our Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi, in 2015, during his UN address proposed that June 21, which is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, be observed as International Day of Yoga and it has since been celebrated worldwide.   Yoga practices for the health and well-being of elders Among the eight limbs of yoga, Asana and Pranayama are practised physically. Dharana and Dhyana are practised as meditation in various proportions by people of different age groups. For elders, it is advised to practice more of meditation through visualisation and chanting mantras, moderate pranayama and appropriate movements leading to asana within one’s individual capacity. These will contribute to a calm state of mind.   Conclusion: Regular yoga helps to transform the mind in stages. While quietening an agitated mind, it also refines and stabilises it. This helps in making one capable of influencing others in a positive way and in becoming an empowered person.

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How brands can be advocates of mental wellbeing of seniors

One in every five senior citizen suffers from at least one form of mental illness. Yet, this cohort hesitates to reach out for help for the fear of judgement. And it’s not just senior citizens. According to WHO (World Health Organisation), 7.5% of the country’s population is mentally ill, and the number will swell to 20% by the time the pandemic ends.   Mental illness has become one of the biggest health concerns in India and across the world. Brands are an important stakeholder in helping remove the needless shame and stigma around mental illness and normalising conversations around mental health.   Advertising has often been a vehicle of change, and it can play a crucial role in changing the conversation around mental health and encouraging more and more people to speak up about their mental health challenges. But most importantly, through nuanced storytelling, advertising can help establish the fact that overall wellbeing is unattainable without mental wellbeing.   A few campaigns done on mental health in the recent years have caught my attention. I have enjoyed the #HealthInsideOut campaign launched in January this year by Future Generali, which drove home the message of the tell-tale signs of mental trauma through a video series animating inanimate objects such as a stress ball, a vase, a pillow.   Ogilvy’s print ad for The Hindu, on World Mental Health Day (October 10) last year on “a smile” and what it actually means when someone with mental illness “smiles” was thought provoking.   Prega News’ campaign demonstrating the travails of a new mother at the workplace, also helped raise awareness on an oft-neglected kind of mental illness – postpartum depression.   Our recent campaign #ReachOut done in association with the Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences at Fortis Hospital, which reached over 1.3 million people, urged senior citizens feeling overwhelmed, distressed, worried, listless and isolated during the second wave of the pandemic, to reach out for help without any hesitation.   Having lived with clinical depression and anxiety for over 23 years myself, I would urge brand managers to be extra cautious about communicating mental illnesses. Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, are all clinical conditions. They are different from “sadness,” “hopelessness” or “despair,” because “sadness” is specific, and is usually connected to a reason. Whereas, depression is vague.   Often these terms are used interchangeably and rather loosely, which causes tremendous damage to the overall narrative because it dilutes the suffering and the struggles of millions of people living with one or more forms of life alternating mental diseases.

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How marketing & communication in Real Estate undergone transformation

It is no secret that COVID-19 has majorly transformed the marketing landscape across the world in the past 14 months. It has been the real accelerator to digital transformation. And it has also given rise to what is being referred to as the “stay at home economy.”   Given that most of us, perhaps for the first times in our lives, have spent inordinate amounts of time at home for the past year, each one of us has realised the importance of home. And because the “stay at home economy” is here to stay even after the vaccine has been made available, consumers have realised that the home is at the centre of their existence.   The Government’s Digital India programme, launched in 2015, with a vision to empower India digitally, has been accelerated hugely by COVID-19.   Real estate, as a category, was very swift to adapt to the digital transformation propelled by the pandemic. From launch events of projects to webinars, site visits, consultations and bookings – almost every step in the customer lifecycle has been digitised in real estate in the past year.   Large real estate players such as Puravankara and Lodha Group have taken the lead in digitising the customer journey by accepting bookings online and using VR and 3D walkthroughs to enable customers to make a purchase decision.   The pandemic changed ad spends patterns in real estate completely. Real estate relies heavily on ATL (mainly print media) and BTL (outdoor, events and on ground activation, apartment complex activations etc) during the launch and the sustenance phases of a project. However, the pandemic resulted in a sharp decline in BTL activities including OOH, events, apartment activities and seminars etc and BTL budgets were shifted to digital. And although a KPMG report claimed that COVID-19 will not have a long term impact on print advertising, in the initial months of the pandemic, real estate firms shied away from advertising on print. The industry has gone back to advertising on print media as the economy revived. However, now there is increased dependency on digital media for a full-funnel activity – from raising awareness to generating leads.   At Columbia Pacific Communities, we have always had a digital first approach to marketing, as we find it the most effective for both brand and product marketing. Hence, the pandemic did not really disrupt our marketing mix very much. What it did however, was necessitate the creation of digital sales tools.   The new normal digitised the sales process in real estate entirely. Site visits have been replaced by videos of the property, virtual walkthroughs, VR, and in some cases, even whatsapp and Google Hangout calls through which customers have made a purchase decision. Unheard of even a few months ago, we at Columbia Pacific Communities, have closed several transactions virtually with the entire sales process carried out through digital tools. We have even participated in digital expos, that have used augmented reality to give customers a virtual experience of the site.   Expos and physical events have been replaced by virtual expos, where customers can get a site experience through VR and chat real time with brand representatives address their queries.   Project launches have also started happening virtually, with real estate brands using advanced 3D to unveil the project and live stream it for prospective buyers as well as the media via social media live sessions. In July 2020, Puravankara did three virtual project launches attended by 30,000 people followed by Prestige Group in August 2020, which launched two of its projects – in Goa and Bangalore – virtually using VR.   At Columbia Pacific Communities, we announced two of our joint venture projects in Bangalore and Pune with Embassy Group and Nyati group respectively in October and August last year via a virtual press conference.   Marketing in real estate have come of age and become innovative with many brands such as House of Hiranandani and Lodha Group, exploring influencer marketing, content marketing and engagement-driven initiatives such as masterclasses with chefs and fireside chats to build brand salience. Recently, Lodha Group roped in Marathi actress Urmila Kothare for Gudi Padwa who talked about the importance of home.   Columbia Pacific Communities tied up with one of India’s most loved authors, Ruskin Bond to carry forward the brand message of community living and positive ageing. A fireside chat and a storytelling session was also organised with the author digitally, to engage current and future residents of Columbia Pacific Communities.   The industry which used to largely focus on offer/deal led communication to create an urgency in the market particularly at the time of launch, has slowly shifted focus to soft selling. This is because, real estate brands have realised that the post pandemic consumer, who is spending a lot more time at home, is a more discerning one. She/he is looking for sustainable homes that have a story to tell, are environmentally friendly and have ample open spaces and also values transparency. Therefore, it has become imperative for real estate firms to create and communicate value propositions that appeal to the post COVID consumer.   Given that a large number of the young work force has returned to their hometowns due the pandemic and working remotely from smaller towns, there has been a surge in the demand for affordable housing in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Therefore, developers are gradually shifting focus to these markets to fill the need gap and are carrying out PMF (product -market fit) studies to create products that best addresses the needs of this audience.   And finally, the pandemic resulted in innovation in payment schemes in real estate. Examples of this include subvention scheme, or an EMI holiday scheme, the latter similar to what a few automobile brands have done, and even property exchange schemes, offering to sell the buyer’s existing property to fund a new property.   To sum it up, digital adoption, shift in communication strategy, value creation, innovation in payment terms and reimagining the entire customer lifecycle and experience are some of the factors that have defined the flux in real estate marketing and communication in the post pandemic world.

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Columbia Pacific Communities launched its latest campaign #CallOutAbuse

Shining the spotlight on the predicament of senior citizens experiencing domestic abuse in the country today, Columbia Pacific Communities, India’s largest senior living community operator has launched a three-phase awareness and support campaign #CallOutAbuse on the side-lines of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, observed on June 15, with the aim to spread awareness on the growing social problem and motivate senior citizens to access right channels of support.   Launched on June 9, 2021, the first phase of the digital campaignaims to sensitise netizens by focusing on the physical and emotional state of senior citizens living with abuse. Phase two showcases the deep-rooted anxieties, fears, and stigma experienced by the elderly, which makes them cover their pain behind brave appearances, self-guilt, and weak reasoning.   Speaking about the initiative, Piali Dasgupta, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Columbia Pacific Communities, said “Elderly abuse is growing at an alarming pace in our country as a result of growing economic pressures and cost of care as well as decreasing sensitivities and selfish motivations of the younger generation. Through this campaign, we want to sensitise the younger generation to shoulder responsibilities of their parents and be more empathetic towards those that brought them up while also urging seniors to break the mould of fear and stigma and seek help against ill-treatment at home. While elder abuse exists outside of home as well, a majority of the cases are at home. Columbia Pacific Communities has always worked towards empowering seniors to take charge of their lives and claim the respect and dignity they deserve. With over 104 million elderly people in India and the demographic expected to triple by 2050, we are committed to stand by those who have nurtured us in life.”   As per an Agewell survey, over 71% of elderly people experience abuse at home. Also the Wave 1 report of Government of India commissioned Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (LASI) states that 77% of the abused seniors experienced verbal/emotional ill-treatment, 24% dealt with physical abuse, and 27% faced economic exploitation, while over 50% overall felt neglected.   The final phase of the campaign aims to mobilise action amongst seniors to strengthen their resolve and opt for help if they are experiencing any form of abuse or neglect. Offering them a trusted channel for professional assistance, HelpAge India’s Elder Helpline number (1800-180-1253) will be the medium to reach out to seniors to receive support and counselling.

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Tele-mental health a good option for elderly struggling with mobility issues or societal stigma

Around 63 per cent of the elderly have developed symptoms of depression due to loneliness or social isolation, found a recent study by NGO Agewell Foundation.   Senior citizens, one of the groups most at-risk from coronavirus, have seen their mental health deteriorate significantly in the past months. And to add to it, elderly people often shy away from opening up about their mental health for the fear of being judged. But that narrative is changing. In an interview, Agewell Foundation founder Himanshu Rath said during the second pandemic wave, there had been over a 50 per cent rise in the number of older people seeking counselling or help for psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, fear, stress, sense of loneliness or isolation. Those diagnosed with preexisting psychiatric conditions, “such as depression, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorders and dementia have shown exacerbations”, he added.   What’s keeping them up at night “Several (at Samvedna Senior Care) mentioned they found news reports of COVID related deaths highly disturbing and upsetting. In comparison to the first wave, several have also experienced losses becoming more personal and closer to home,” shared Dr Jayashree Dasgupta, clinical psychologist and co-founder of Samvedna Senior Care. “One 74-year-old described how during the first wave news reports were of infected people dying. However, during the second wave, he had not only lost people close to him but would daily hear about 4-5 known people, both younger and older adults, who were unwell which added to his fear. Challenges with getting vaccines have been another cause for increased anxiety and feeling helpless in the current scenario,” she said.   At Tribeca Care, about 15 per cent of members have actively engaged with psychologists at least once in the last 14 months (since the first wave). “That’s 5x more than pre andemic times,” said co-CEOs Prateep Sen and Tamojit Dutta. “They mostly reach out about loneliness, anxiety, lack of engagement and sense of purpose. Some are also worried that social isolation is probably leading to memory loss as mental activities have declined.”   Younger people need to step up “Talking about mental health issues i s hard – not just for the elderly,” added Sen and Dutta. “What makes it harder yet for seniors is their inexperience of using online services to access help.”   Dr Samir Parikh, director at the Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare, believes this is where the younger generation needs to come in. They can help destigmatise seeking help and train the elderly to access the Internet. “(Today) There are highly accessible ways of conducting tele-health. Whatsapp video calls can also suffice,” he said.   Tele-health a good option for the time being Last year, during the first pandemic wave, only 22 p er cent of the elderly at Samvedna Senior Care considered speaking with a mental health professional. Within the space of a year, that number shot up 30 per cent with the elderly seeking online consultations for various health issues, including mental health. “Online consultations, particularly for mental health issues allow older adults to speak confidentially with a professional in the comfort of their home,” said Dasgupta. “This provided an experience for many who probably had not availed of such services in the past. It has also been beneficial for those who have mobility limitations or are concerned about societal stigma.”   However, not everyone prefers tele-health. Columbia Pacific Communities found that while all of their residents acknowledged the ease and convenience of telemedicine and healthcare apps during these uncertain times, they preferred in-person consultations. “Residents within our communities have opted for telemedicine only during the lockdown,” shared senior vice president of marketing, Piali Dasgupta. “When the lockdown was lifted, they preferred to see a physician in person as that is what they seem to be the most comfortable with.”

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How you can fight COVID-19

Although most people with COVID-19 get better within a few weeks, some patients experience post-COVID conditions, similar to post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.   Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and experts around the world are working to learn more about the short and long-term health effects of COVID-19   Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions:   1. What are some of the signs and health implications that indicate you have COVID-19 infection? COVID-19-infected people can show symptoms or remain asymptomatic. Individuals who are asymptomatic are silent carriers. Symptomatic people can have mild symptoms of myalgia or moderate symptoms of fever, sore throat, loss of smell, taste, abdominal pain and reduced appetite. There can also be severe symptoms, which are generally seen after the seventh day with happy hypoxia which presents as exhaustion, headache and sleepiness with low oxygen levels.   2. How long does the infection last? The infection lasts for a period of seven to 10 days in mild to moderate cases. In severely-affected individuals the infection lasts for over two to three weeks with the need for oxygen support.   3. Why are there varied manifestations with COVID-19 infection? From the first few days up to the seventh day, the virus replicates in the host and the subsequent symptoms are the cascade of reactions of the host to the virus. The recovery from the infection varies with the severity of the infection.   4. If an individual gets COVID-19 after vaccination, what should s/he do? COVID-19 infection can occur after the first dose of vaccination or even after the second dose. Individuals are susceptible to COVID infections even four to six weeks after the second dose of vaccination. Again, the symptoms seen are varied depending upon the viral load. The most important rule one must adhere to is to wear masks, maintain social distancing and hand hygiene even after vaccinations. There are cases reported even after eight weeks of vaccination, but the clinical symptoms are moderate and recovery happens without much of a setback in existing health.   5. Once you are infected with COVID-19, what is the recovery time? In about 10 days from being tested positive, individuals turn symptom-free if it is a mild to moderate infection. If it is severe, it takes about four to eight weeks.   6. What are the health setbacks that occur after a COVID-19 infection? The health setbacks depend on the viral load and host reactions. There are different post-COVID conditions which are long COVID, multi-organ effects, effects of treatment and hospitalisation.   At the physical level: Exertional cough and breathing difficulty due to reduced lung capacity and residual damage caused to the alveolar sacs, disturbed digestive system due to disturbed gut flora, disturbed biological rhythm like insomnia, due to prolonged ICU stays and general exhaustion and malaise.   At the emotional level: Fear and anxiety causing various phobias, obsessive compulsive behaviour and depression.   At the mental level: Difficulty in making decisions, discrimination and less clarity in thoughts.   7. How can we address these setbacks?   At the physical level: A. Breathing difficulties can be managed by trying different positions while lying down and when seated. This includes: – High side lying – Forward lean sitting – Standing with back support   There are various breathing techniques taught to regain lung capacity. These are:   Pranayama for efficient breathing   – Sit comfortably with a straight back, observe inhalation and exhalation. Start observing the transition between inhalation and exhalation and between exhalation and inhalation over five breaths. – Now start counting the inhalation and exhalation within your normal range of breath. Normal physiological breath has exhalation longer than inhalation over five breaths. – First exhale through both nostrils. Close the right nostril, inhale through the left nostril then close the left nostril, breathe out through the partially opened right nostril. Do this five times. – Then take five breaths — inhale and exhale through both nostrils. – Exhale through both nostrils. Close the left nostril and inhale through the right nostril, then close the right nostril, exhale through the partially opened left nostril. Do this five times. – Then take five breaths — Inhale and exhale through both nostrils. – Exhale through both nostrils. To start with, close the right nostril and inhale from the left nostril and then close the left nostril, exhale through the partially opened right nostril, then keeping the left nostril closed, inhale through the right nostril and close the right nostril and exhale through the partially opened left nostril. This is one cycle. Repeat five cycles. – Then take five breaths — inhale and exhale through both nostrils. This time try and count the inhalation and exhalation. By regular practise of this breathing technique, breathing becomes efficient and exhalation becomes longer than inhalation.   Paced breathing: Breathe in before the activity through the nose. Breathe out during the activity through the mouth.   Pursed lip breathing: Inhale slowly through the nose within your normal range and pucker your lips and exhale through the mouth.   Segmental breathing: Place the hands on the upper part of the chest, breathe in within your normal range deliberately through the nose and breathe out through the mouth. Now place hands on the sides of the chest and repeat the same way. Place the arms across the chest to keep the hands over opposite shoulder and repeat the same way.   B. Physical exercises to rehabilitate the rib cage and spine for efficient respiration – Breathe in through the nose as you raise the hands, breathe out through the mouth as you bring the hands down. – Clasp your hands behind your head, breathe in through the nose as you move your elbows away and breathe out through the mouth as you bring the elbows together. Breathe in through the nose as you raise your arms above your head and breathe out through the mouth as you bring your arms down.   C. Incentive Spirometer   This is a device that helps maintain and increase lung capacity. If this device cannot be procured, another simple way to do this is to hold a glass full of water and place a straw over the top of the water and start breathing out through the straw to make streams of bubbles through the surface of the water. Each time try and see for how long you can breathe out.   D. Physical exercises to improve flexibility, stamina, balance and coordination.   E. Aerobic exercises: Walking short distances with a slow pace within a short time duration and slowly increasing the pace and duration of the walk with an interval of a few days.   F. Diet: Balanced nutrition in the right quantity, quality and at the right time to be taken for tissue repairs.   Macronutrients consisting of complex carbohydrates, adequate protein through pulses, sprouted lentils and moderate fats through nuts and seeds will meet the energy demand for recuperation and tissue repairs.   Micronutrients through fresh fruits, salads will provide the essential vitamins, minerals and trace elements for healing.   Eating closer to the sunset, thereby abiding with our ancient wisdom of eating with the sun rhythm ir circadian rhythm, helps to bring in good quality of sleep.   At the emotional level – Working with any art media such as painting, drawing, creative writing, playing instruments, clay modelling, dramatics and dance can help bring out overwhelming emotions in a healthy way. – Seeking professional help through a psychologist will help address the deep hidden fears and anxiety. – Connect with people particularly with those friends who were affected and share positive ideas towards the healing process.   At the mental level – Reading stories, autobiographies of those who have succeeded in life will help the mind to perceive life positively. – Neurobic exercises, particularly in consultation with a neurologist, will empower your memory if it has been disturbed due to the hypoxic insult. – Learning new skills through online sessions such as a new language, chanting, meditation and mindful movements will help to bring in clarity in thinking.   Any pandemic, if seen as a whole, brings in a shift in the global consciousness. It brings about a major paradigm shift in the way one looks at life. Losing loved ones and seeing deaths in large numbers brings in an attitude of gratefulness and humility. So, behind this whole pandemic there is a rising consciousness which is shifting the human evolution to another milestone. This is the post-COVID inner shift.

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How senior living communities are keeping residents physically and mentally fit during COVID-19 second wave

The COVID-19 related protocols in place at Columbia Pacific Communities are made by our Wellness Team in consultation with our Healthcare Partners – Columbia Asia Hospitals. Our focus has been to ensure the physical wellbeing of our residents while being equally conscious of their mental health requirements.   Our ability to ring-fence our communities from the external environment was tested and tried during the first wave. The credit goes to our tireless front-liners who went beyond the call of duty to ensure that we were able to continue to serve our residents and fulfil their daily and medical needs through team members who were staying within the communities.   Cooperation from our residents and guidance from our Resident Committees made this difficult task possible. Our wellness teams and Resident Managers coordinated with local medical authorities and hospitals to arrange for vaccinations for the residents and caregivers. As a consequence, the fact that more than 90% of our residents have had at least one dose of the vaccination has given an added layer of protection while providing greater peace of mind for both the residents and their extended families.   Housekeeping and dining services – frequency and delivery have been modified to ensure that residents are supported in their needs. Where necessary, all meals are served to them in their homes to limit their exposure.   All our communities have dedicated isolation facilities equipped with oxygen for emergency use so any residents showing even minor symptoms can be quarantined within the community. In this manner, our residents continue to have the support of our medical personnel without exposing them to the larger risk of going to a hospital.   Our partnership with one of India’s most trusted health portals, 1mg, as our e-Healthcare service providers ensures medicines are available to our residents at a preferential price and within 24-hours. In addition, a dedicated relationship manager at 1mg is available for any specific advice or assistance that may be required.   Our protocols have also ensured that physical distancing has not led to social distancing. While COVID affects those who are unfortunate to be exposed to the virus, the lockdowns affects the mental health of all – residents and service providers. It is a credit to the leadership of our Operations team that our residents have remained engaged and involved through this period through various technology-enabled engagement programmes, interactions and competitions.

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Breathing exercises for seniors that help in increasing lung capacity and makes them stronger

Breath is a vehicle which carries one of the most important components of our life force known as “Prana”. After the age of 35, there are gradual changes in lung volumes and pulmonary functions. This is due to the gravity posed changes in spine and chest wall which brings about decrease in chest wall compliance. The capacity to recruit alveoli reduces in an elderly person due to reducing residual volume. This residual volume of air is one of the reasons the air sacs remain potent and available for gas exchange.   There are a few techniques one can follow to maintain a good chest wall compliance and improve the lung volume by breathing effectively.   Techniques to improve breathing: a. Sit comfortably with your back straight and observe your inhalation and exhalation. Start observing the transition between inhalation and exhalation and vice versa over five breaths. b. Now count the inhalation and exhalation within your normal range of breath. Normal physiological breath has exhalation longer than inhalation over five breaths. c. First exhale through both nostrils. Close the right nostril, inhale through the left nostril then close the left nostril, breathe out through partially opened right nostril. Repeat this five times. d. Then take five breaths – inhale and exhale through both nostrils. e. Exhale through both nostrils. Close the left nostril and inhale through the right nostril, then close the right nostril, exhale through the partially opened left nostril. Repeat this five times. f. Then take five breaths – inhale and exhale through both nostrils. g. Exhale through both nostrils. To start with, close the right nostril and inhale from the left nostril and then close the left nostril, exhale through the partially opened right nostril, then keeping the left nostril closed, inhale through the right nostril and close the right nostril and exhale through the partially opened left nostril. This is one cycle. Repeat five cycles. h. Then take five breaths – inhale and exhale through both nostrils. This time try and count the inhalation and exhalation. With regular practice of this breathing technique, breathing becomes efficient and exhalation becomes longer than inhalation.   These exercises can be done at least twice a day, preferably as one wakes up in the morning and before retiring to bed at night. If possible, one can practice more than two times. It is important to keep a gap of two hours after a meal and an hour after a snack or beverage before these exercises.   In yogic breathing techniques, exhalation is focussed and practiced consciously so that good inhalation happens automatically. By focussing on exhalation based breathing exercises, we can improve the overall lung capacity. Efficient breathing improves the lung capacity and good lung capacity brings better oxygenation to tissues thereby maintaining their vitality.

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Coronavirus | Pandemic pushing up demand for senior living units, say realtors

Niranjan Hiranandani, National President, NAREDCO, said since the pandemic began, there has been demand for homes from the buyer segment which is above the age of 55   In what has increasingly become the new way of living — mostly indoors, highly alert about hygiene, and in preparedness of medical emergencies — realtors say demand for housing units specifically catering to senior living is on the rise. Niranjan Hiranandani, National President, NAREDCO, said since the pandemic began, there has been demand for homes from the buyer segment which is above the age of 55, still independent and leading an active life.   “Homes for this segment are referred to as ‘senior living units’, and these are mostly in gated communities. Defined by senior citizen-friendly architecture and design features, they offer facilities and convenient services and access to medical facilities. Some projects also offer medical support and holistic healthcare. This is a segment totally different from ‘assisted living’ for senior citizens which is largely, institutionalised,” he explained.   The pandemic, he said, has made those aged above 55 years, independent and active want to move to a home located in a community where they get safety and security along with services and amenities which add meaning to their lives – be it entertainment and social interaction or wellness options. Pune, Bengaluru and Chennai are among the cities where they’ve witnessed demand, though Mumbai is less affordable and a larger number of this segment are buying in peripheral areas in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), such as Panvel, Navi Mumbai and Thane, he added.   Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants, said COVID-19 could very well reshape the future of the senior living segment in India as demand for such residences is rising amidst the pandemic-induced uncertainties. “Presently, there is only limited supply in this segment. As per our research, there are as many as 55 projects (developed or ongoing) by top 12 players in this segment of which 60% are in tier 2 and 3 cities and the remaining 40% in Tier 1 cities,” he said.   Most of the existing senior living projects have sprung up either in the outskirts of the major cities or largely in tier II and III cities across the country. “Bhiwadi in NCR, Neral in Mumbai, Talegaon in Pune and Devanahalli in Bengaluru are some of the prominent locations around Tier 1 cities, while prominent tier 2 cities include Coimbatore, Puducherry, Kodaikanal, Vadodara, Bhopal, Jaipur, Mysuru, Dehradun, Kasauli and Kanchipuram,” he said.   Region-wise, the southern cities have nearly 69% share of the total 55 projects, he said, adding that Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Kodaikanal, Mysuru, Puducherry, and Kanchipuram are among the prominent destinations.   Explaining the reasons, Mohit Nirula, CEO, Columbia Pacific Communities, said over the last year, COVID-19 and its impact on society in general and on seniors living on their own in specific have caused a “dramatic and ongoing” surge in the demand. Columbia Pacific has over 1600 residential units under management in five cities. “Furthermore, the age group of future residents seeking accommodation in senior living communities has dropped with the 50 – 60-year-old demographic keen to buy into communities under development. The increase in demand is seen in Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Kanchipuram and Puducherry,” he said.   According to Mr. Nirula, the reason for this uptick in demand is the contrasting experience of seniors staying in senior living communities vis a vis those staying alone or in condominium complexes with mixed families. “Residents of senior living communities were able to count on the service provider to support and fulfil all their daily needs without exposing them to the external environment. On the other hand, seniors staying on their own had to either face increased risk of exposure or go without daily conveniences,” he said.   Further, the presence of on-property medical support in senior living communities gives both the seniors and their families the peace of mind necessary in these extraordinarily difficult times. “Ring-fenced from the external environment, residents of senior living communities continue to remain socially engaged while remaining physically distanced. Neighbours, who are friends and have the same needs allow senior living communities to be havens of safety and social interactivity at a time when loneliness and anxiety have been as debilitating as the virus itself,” he Mr. Nirula added.   Concurring, S. Vasudevan from Ozone Group said that senior citizens don’t want to be isolated. “They want to participate with other age groups too. These are not the same as retirement homes. There are round-the-clock medical facilities available and go beyond food, culture security and entertainment. The importance of geriatric care has made a lot of people move into gated communities.”   What about the cost? “It is around 20% more for such units. The pandemic has shifted people’s priorities. We’ve seen people from the CBD move into gated communities even 30 km away,” he added.

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2999, 12th A Main Road,
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