Life moves along pretty fast. At an instance you seem unstoppable on your quest to fulfill those ambitions; the next thing you know, old age has silently crept in and all of a sudden you are hit by deteriorating health, dependency and an isolation with a heightened urge to be cared for.
In an attempt to alleviate this increased loneliness experienced by seniors, COOJ Mental Health Foundation, a non-profit organisation that actively works towards promoting mental health in the state, is promising a day filled with joy, a sense of belonging and companionship.
While the rest of the state will begin the Carnival festivities over the weekend, the seniors are all set to have a splash at the 9th edition fundraiser, Golden Stage: Splash Down, a senior Carnival, taking place today (February 7) at Emerald Lawns, Parra North Goa.
“This event is organized for our seniors, especially those from the old-age homes who are usually left alone, with little interactions. This is a special Carnival for our elders,” says Dayle Rodrigues, coordinator of the Geriatric and Dementia Care Programme at COOJ.
Society usually neglects the seniors and with many far away from home, this initiative by the COOJ acts as a platform for the elders to meet each other – a golden stage indeed!
Dayle adds, “The concept of this event is to bring the carnival to our senior citizens. It aligns with one of our goals to work with the community at COOJ.” Under their COSMI project (Community Outreach for Seniors with Mental Issues), the NGO caters to around 20 to 25 homes with about 400 members.
Over the years, this event has been taking place around Carnival time. And there’s lots of fun when the coolest gang of seniors gather together, from activities, games, snacks, getting a bit drenched (while taking safety precautions) and some infectious smiles and laughter.
When in Goa, Carnival only kicks start with King Momo declaring “Eat, drink and make merry!” keeping up to this tradition, the evening will have a (volunteer) King Momo to lead the parade with the senior individuals.
This evening, dedicated for the seniors, isn’t possible without the support of many. Dayle concurs with this saying, “Along with our venue partners Emerald Lawns, the community at large is helping make this event possible.”
Volunteering and sponsorship are essential factors facilitating the event. Many have joined hands, engaging with the seniors in the many activities, helping out with the props, decorations, food, transportation and much more.
This event goes on to prove that spending time with old people is important and encourages all to be part of it to discover something about oneself.
“We couldn’t do it this year, but we want to encourage kids to come in and volunteer. Firstly because they’ll be able to share the joy with our seniors and secondly, they’ll be able to take a message back home themselves after interacting with the seniors,” says Dayle, “There’ll be a difference,” she concludes.
WHERE: Emerald Lawns, Parra
WHEN: February 7, 2024
TIMINGS: 3 pm to 6.30 pm