Elderly remain cautious despite missing the outdoors

Staying indoors due to Covid-19 is no longer a choice but a way of life for seniors in the Klang Valley.

Businessman C.Y. Lee said being at home since the Movement Control Order (MCO) started on March 18 was tough.

“Although I am semi-retired, I usually meet clients or friends for a cup of tea,” said Lee, 75.

“The MCO was tough as I’m not used to sitting idle at home. Apart from two days where I had to go for my medical appointments, I’ve spent the last 96 days indoors.”

Lee, who stays in Ampang, wished he could return to his old routine but understands the need to remain indoors as much as possible.

“My children are always reminding me that I need to be vigilant and be on guard. I understand their concern as I am in the vulnerable category.

“I do miss my teh tarik sessions but I must be patient as I’m not only responsible for my own health but also my loved ones.”

Retired teacher Datuk George Joseph said although the Recovery Movement Control Order has kicked in, he is not in a rush to go out.

“I now go for my walks but I’ve not dined in at a restaurant yet,” said Joseph, 83.

The former president of the Bangsar Baru residents’ association understands the economy must restart but admits he misses the time during the MCO when shops closed at 10pm.

“Double parking and traffic congestion are back. It was much more peaceful during the MCO and the seniors were enjoying the peace and quiet in the neighbourhood,” he said.

For Peter Raiappan, 77, the lockdown was difficult as he was unable to meet his friends and grandchildren.

“I was only able to talk to my grandchildren via WhatsApp and I missed my friends as we used to meet quite often,” said Raiappan from Medan Damansara.

“During the MCO, I repaired several items at home and spent time online learning scriptures from the Bible,” he said.

Raiappan, a former Radio Television Malaysia newsreader, said he also made it a point to create lesson plans for his grandchildren aged five and three.

“I was teaching them idioms. I picked up notes from the web and used my own experiences to explain the idioms.”

While many have advised him to remain at home, Raiappan finds solace in spending some time outdoors.

“I will take all the precautions. As long as I adhere to the SOPs, I think I should be fine.”

Malaysian Golden Age Welfare Association (Usiamas) adviser Datuk Abdullah Malim Baginda said there was some anxiety among the elderly at the start of the MCO.

“It’s normal and we understand as we are the most vulnerable group,” said Abdullah, 88.

Abdullah said Usiamas runs a home help programme where volunteers make regular visits to the elderly in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.

Many of their younger volunteers visited the seniors under the homecare programme during the MCO to provide food, cut their fingernails, help bathe them and clean their homes.

A volunteer from Usiamas chatting with a senior citizen during a recent visit.

“Our volunteers told us that during the MCO the elderly were wondering about the well-being of their children and grandchildren.

“Mobile phones were a big help as they got to see how their grandchildren were doing. They also feel more secure now as their families are able to visit them,” he said.

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