Christmas at the TSS

Ho Ho Ho! Cheered everyone as we welcomed Sheila A.K.A. Santa to The Senior Station. And what a sport she was! Dressed in a full Santa costume, complete with balloons and a bag of treats, Sheila danced and clapped, setting off the Christmas spirit at our annual party. We’d like to thank Tania Polonnowita Wettimuny of Hellmann Worldwide Logistics (Pvt) Ltd whose sponsorship allowed us to organize a really grand party. We’d also like to thank Angeline Ondatjie, Munni Fazleabbas, Murtaza Esufally, Tasneem Akbarally and Sabir and Kim for their contributions that made the morning extra special. It was a program created by the members that started with carols sung by Swini, Sriani, Sheila and their friends. Soon all the other members joined in to some foot tapping numbers and sweet odes like Silent Night. Claude made a beautiful presentation on his experience of one year at The Senior Station which was followed by a tribute from Dolly and Miriam to the organisers. Everyone applauded the bonds of friendship that have evolved over the year, and joy that we experience at every session. The appreciation and love that the members poured on the organisers was truly touching, bringing many of us to tears. The party however continued. A dance performance by the organisers to the Christmas favourite, Santa Baby got everyone hooting, and a hilarious skit by Farook and his troop had us in splits. Birthday boy Gladstone brought a cake and everyone sang to him. Then there was a lucky dip conducted by Farook with many prizes, and a special program by Rajah called Laughter is the Best Medicine. Towards the end of the program we passed around glasses of a fruity, spiced drink, and shouted ’Cheers’ in different languages from around the world. We raised a toast to many more happy times at The Senior Station and closed with a bang as members burst bon bons laid out for them at their tables. But that was not all – The grand finale was the most sumptuous meal with turkey, stuffing and many more Christmas treats; And before everyone left they got a surprise gift that the organisers had laid out for them under the Christmas tree. This has been the most wonderful year and we look forward to meeting all our friends again at The Senior Station on January 8th 2019. Till then – Seasons greetings and happy holiday!

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Deepavali Lights Up TSS

Lights and colour were splashed everywhere at The Senior Station this week, as we celebrated the festival of Deepavali. It was wonderful to see all the members turn up in such finery, eager to participate in the festivities. Sajeda got us in to the swing of things by introducing some fun songs to her exercise routine. Indeed, when there’s music in the air, our members are irrepressible. Then came the Kolum and lamp decoration competition. We were quite awestruck by the intricate designs the members came up with, using coloured rice, sequins and glitter. We had a special surprise this week, but before that we celebrated the birthdays of the month. Indrani, Swini, Munni and Shenaz took the center stage as we sang and wished them well. And then the grand finale – a troupe of 6 dancers put on a fabulous high energy performance to foot tapping Bollywood numbers. Munni then got all the members on the floor to teach them some Hindi movie moves. She showed us the bottle-cap-opening step, the swatting-the flies step, the flying-the-kite step and more. What a grand time we had! This month’s delicious birthday cake was from Ambrosia.


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Ghosts and Ghouls take over TSS

Sajeda’s revved up exercise routine and an exciting visual quiz got us all energised for The Senior Station’s Halloween Special. We traced the history of Halloween, and learnt how to carve pumpkins into Jack-O-Lanterns – A fun activity that Priyanthi and others are now keen to do with their grandchildren. Sriani then told us a funny ghost story from her youth, and suddenly it seemed like almost everyone had an anecdote about a supernatural encounter to share. We closed on a lighter note as Nihal, Farook and Swini sang some of our favourite songs and we all joined in!
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Four pictures and a word

We were happy to meet the representatives of Revival Physical Medicine Clinic who visited The Senior Station this week. Proprietor, Ranjini and Lead Physiotherapist Thayumanvan demonstrated to our members the importance of correct posture and gait, very important factors in preventing injuries to the body. It was a very interactive session with many questions from our members .Quiz time came with a bit of a twist this time as we played a version of 4 Pics And a Word – a game that uses visual clues to find a word. Nothing like a challenge to get our members spirits soaring!


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Art, money and positive energy

The Senior Station was visited by three lovely ladies who shared with us their skills and expertise. Rekha, a yoga and meditation instructor, started us off with yoga exercises that brought our attention to our breath. Her calm positive energy helped us focus on more serious matters such as money – Chamila Nagendran, an investment manager who specializes in investments for seniors, then discussed how to optimize our savings while securing them from potential financial hazards. Finally it was Nisreen Amiruddeen turn to cheer us up with a workshop on painting with water colors. The works of art left us truly spell bound!
For more details email us on or call 0778445332

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The Senior Station Health Check

‘I am feeling just fine’ said a beaming Chaya.  The doctor had just given her a thumbs up during a health check conducted at The Senior Station.  We would like to thank Dr. Manouri Samarakoon who heads Health Scan, a reputed private clinic, for sending in her team to run a general medical check-up for the members of The Senior Station.  Members were given a blood pressure and random blood sugar test. They were also assessed for their Body Mass Index. The doctor then spent time with each member individually, pointing out red flags and talking to them about how they could improve their indicators.

Of course all these conversations about health and well-being, also came with our weekly dose of exercises, puzzles, interactive games and loads and loads of cheers!



Dealing with Interfering Adults

My friend, Geetha constantly complains about how her mum and mother-in-law interfere with everything she does.  “They have an opinion for everything I do”, she says with a sigh.  “They are ready to criticize the way I bring up my children, or run my house or even sometimes the way I speak to my husband. I feel I am constantly being judged.” The frustration over not being allowed to figure things on our own has been expressed so many times across generations. So why is it that as people get older they forget that they were once young too – and perhaps went through this same ordeal?

Sometimes people want to ‘manage’ the lives of younger loved ones, to assert their authority, or maybe because they care. They’ve been through the grind and have seen the pitfalls, and want to protect them against likely mishaps. At other times, however, they interfere merely because they want to have their opinion heard. Geetha says more often than not, she ignores the constant comments and continues to do her own thing. But, ever so often, there are sharp and sarcastic remarks that fly pass her that really upset her. “We listened to our elders when we were young, but nowadays children think they know better”, is a very common jibe thrown her way.

It wasn’t very long ago when many aged parents lived together with their grown children and grandchildren. Elders’ seniority allowed them to prevail over most family matters whether they were right or wrong. However, over the years, things have changed rapidly. Today there is a growing need to assert oneself and make one’s own decisions. Today’s young adults have a lot more information at their disposal that they tend to rely on. As a result, young adults today are far less dependent upon their elders for guidance.  They prefer to make their mistakes and learn from them. They prefer to seek out the latest trends rather than follow ‘outdated’ information. This is something that Geetha’s elders and so many others do not understand. They can’t accept that Geetha would trust a computer over the first hand experience that they can offer her.

To better understand this conflict, we interviewed several senior citizens and researched online resources.  What we found was what the younger generation tended to brush off as stubbornness and interference was often an attempt to be heard and acknowledged. Geetha for example admits that she blocks out her elders out of exasperation and the fear that if she listens to them it might lead to never ending interference.

Perhaps if Geetha did accept at least some of the input provided by her elders, it might actually make them ease up a bit. This would make them feel more relevant and wanted – which is a greatly felt need for the elderly the world over. However, it is also recommended that we establish clear boundaries.  Older parents, in-laws and other seniors, who are advising their adult children, should be made to understand that the final decision on matters will be in the hands of the younger generation. At the same time, their advice would be respected and even welcomed.  The older generation has a treasure trove of information that could be of immense use to their younger counterparts.  For instance, often times, home remedies work better for minor ailments than the pharmaceuticals a doctor would usually prescribe.  For example, Geetha says her mum-in-law uses a bee’s honey and lime mixture for a cough. She tried it a couple of times and it does soothe an irritated throat.

Looking at it from the seniors point of view, they should understand that though they do have a lot to offer, they need to share advice without making it look like they are finding fault.  For instance they could rephrase their inputs as ‘during our time we did it like this – you could try this out if you like.’  The important thing for elders to remember is that their children are not children anymore. Sometimes, they need to back off and let them make their own decisions – and mistakes. At the same time, they need to keep themselves open for discussion so that when their children really want their advice they can easily turn to them. This way their children will value advice better and accept it without resentment.

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How much of yourself do you give?

For care givers often the quandary is ‘How much of myself do I give?’ As loved ones get less capable and more dependent physically and emotionally, the burden of looking after an older person can get more and more wearisome even for the most committed caregiver.

Let’s take the example of Anoma, a mother of two with an aging father in her care. After the loss of her mother, her father seemed to withdraw from the world. He stopped meeting up with friends and, as his faculties deteriorated he lost interest in most activities. In a bid to force her father out of his shell, Anoma began to include him in as many of her social engagements as possible and took over many of his responsibilities. What she found was that soon her father began to depend entirely on her and her family for most of his physical, social and emotional needs. Moreover, her father became less forgiving when the support was not available. If she was ill or busy with her kids, he would get snappy and irritable. Anoma found herself torn between despair, love, guilt and anger.

Anoma’s dilemma has been echoed on several caregiver posts and blogs and the consensus is that setting boundaries early on makes the relationship between the caregiver and the elder healthier and stronger. Saying ‘no’ is not easy and can break one’s heart, but setting certain rules and gently, though firmly ensuring that those rules are not broken gives caregivers the time and space they need to look after their own needs. This will help bolster the resources and energy caregivers need to provide better long term care.

However, where does one start if the caregiver is already in a relationship where the elder in their care is used to having them on call at all times. It starts first with carefully thinking out the boundaries that would work for both parties. The next step would be for the caregiver to have a conversation with their elderly loved one about where they stand while clearly conveying the new boundaries that they feel would work. What would help is, keeping the explanation simple and clear so that it doesn’t become a protracted negotiation. The caregiver needs to make it clear that while they may be less involved on certain instances, viable alternatives have been thought out such that the person being cared for is always looked after.  The alternatives could even be encouraging the elder person to be more independent. Finally, the caregiver must clearly communicate that their loved one is not being abandoned. On the contrary this change will help create a stronger, and more enjoyable and pleasant relationship between the caregiver and the elderly.

Conveying the new rules is the easier part, implementing the same may prove to be a bigger challenge. There could be a constant pull at the heartstrings and play on your guilt, but the caregiver has to be consistent. Every concession that is made will make the elder in their care take the new rules less seriously. Caregivers need to show their elders that while their concern and love has not reduced, the rules will not be bent. Eventually things will start getting easier. Caregivers can improve the moments spent with their loved one with more conversations, sharing of interests, and trips down memory lane. Eventually as the new rules come to be accepted, caregivers will discover a new found pleasure in their relationships with their elders.

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