It was time for senior citizens to teach the younger generation a thing or two about the competitive spirit and how to have fun. The one-of-its-kind event—Jashn 2015—an inter-senior sports and cultural festival organised by Ashiana Housing Ltd. on October 3-4, 2015 at Bhiwadi, Delhi NCR gave nearly 500 senior citizens of Bhiwadi, Lavasa and Jaipur, aged 50 to 75 years, a chance to relive their college days.
From competing in a walking competition, two grey-haired men engrossed in a carrom competition, a table-tennis match between two extremely style-conscious ladies to couples walking the ramp, all this and more was a part of the Jashn 2015. Team Bhiwadi was declared as the overall winners, followed by Jaipur as the first runner-up and Lavasa as the second runner-up.
Dr. Murlidhara, Ayurveda Consultant & Psychologist, Ashiana Housing Ltd., spoke to The Goodwill Project.
Jashn is an inter-senior annual sports and cultural event, where seniors from Ashiana’s various senior living communities participate in competitive sports and cultural events. It’s a true representation of the fact that a fuller life begins after 55. Senior Living was passion of our founder, Om Gupta, and we celebrate Jashn in his memory.
Tell us about the Back to College theme.
Fun and celebration has no age bar. Back to College is a nice re-creation of age-old memories, where members of our senior living communities bring back their college life in terms of fun and enjoyment, recreating fashion, food, music and lifestyle.
Veena Seth, who won in Dance (solo): “I always loved to dance. However, after I got married, responsibilities took the place of dance in my life. But with the Jashn 2015, dance has again become my priority and now I won’t leave this passion till I die.”
Are the activities categorised age-wise?
Our residents on the organizing committees have chosen a list of activities and games based on popularity. These events are open to all the residents above 55. We have made sub-divisions in some of the activities, such as the 75+ category, since sports like walking need a certain level of vitality. We seek entries from our existing senior living communities, which holds local-level elimination rounds.
It was an overwhelming experience and we had nearly 700 residents being a part of this celebration, participating in various sports and cultural events, followed by a fun-filled finale. We had over 80+ residents winning sports events, 85 couples walking the ramp, dressed in their wedding attire! We also found the lingering memory being enjoyed for another six months.
Is it just about participation or about winning?
It’s about participation and winning, cheering for one’s team and friends! There are winners at the end of competitions, but also everyone ends up as winners, because of all the fun they have.
Awasthi, who won the Badminton (Singles-Male) competition: “As parents as well as grandparents, we have fulfilled all our duties with grace, love and care. Now, it’s time for us to enjoy, live a carefree life and be happy.”
A lot is heard and read about senior citizens’ facing neglect by families. Any message for readers?
Senior living communities can be an answer for such issues, where one can live with like-minded friends of a similar age. The community takes care of many common issues. The facility management company takes care of many hassles. Security is available two-fold, social and physical. Senior living is all about dignity, fun and engagement, where a senior can choose the way they want to live.
Last year, we had children cheering for their parents, who were participating. They enjoy watching their parents living a fuller life. Families feel pride watching the elders living an active life and belonging to such vibrant communities.
Can you tell us five ways for families and society to increase participation of senior citizens?
Increasing forums for seniors to interact and participate.
Retaining and re-creating culturally relevant platforms from their times.
Bringing and implementing inter-generational participation activities.
Inclusive decision-making at family levels to retain dignity and self-worth of seniors.
Accepting the needs of senior living communities and making quality facilities.