Sprightly elderly vie for honours

Sprightly elderly vie for honours

It was an eventful sports day like any other, except that the participants were all aged above 60.

Federation of Senior Citizens Forums of Karnataka on Monday organised a first-of-its-kind event for its members at Kanteerava Stadium. The elderly participated in a variety of games that were both fun and challenging – memory walk, shot put, counting, special musical chair and 100-metre race.

“Non-governmental and private organisations from the State must come forward and take an initiative for such events and motivate the elderly people. We will definitely work towards creating better schemes for senior citizens,” said Umashree, Minister for Women and Child Development, who inaugurated the event.

“This is a wonderful gathering. Our social life is limited and this is a platform where we get to mingle and engage in conversations. It is astonishing to see a 70-year-old man run a 100-metre race,” said Vijayalakshmi R, a member.

“We are on the verge of losing the system called family which also involves grandparents. Today, a lot of families do not care for the old people. You put the food in the refrigerator and expect them to heat it and eat it on their own. These forums we have are united in the cause of working towards the betterment of the elderly. We want to make youngsters aware and understand our needs and thus bridge gaps,” said R K Sridhara Murthy, chairperson, Sports and Cultural Events.

Seventy-three-year-old Murthy, one of the participants, said the forum was planning to introduce a major project called ‘Health for Seniors’, which is expected to cover the medical expenses of the elderly at minimal rates by involving the government, insurance companies as well as pharmacies.

The event saw senior citizens from all walks of life come together with a lot of enthusiasm to participate and win prizes. “I was an international athlete and a freedom fighter. I have won about 100 medals in all and I even went to jail in 1942. This programme reminds me of my days as a sportsperson. It is a lot of encouragement for people like me as I do not like to sit idle,” said D N Sampath, 88, president, Karnataka State Pensioners’ Association.

“Until now, only awards were given for various achievements for the elderly. This year, with the help of the government, we have managed to introduce sports events, too.
Events of this kind help us feel energetic and young in our minds,” said D H Guru, another member.

Umashree announced that helpline ‘Sahayavani’, which was available only in 17 districts, will now be introduced in all the 30 districts in the coming days.

The winners will be felicitated by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on October 1, International Day of Older Persons, at Town Hall.

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