May 21, 2011

Seniors find ways to relax

There is a small community of radio listeners who love the SLBC. Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.
These are people whose day cannot be made unless they tune in to the Western Pop Music programme that goes on air every morning on SLBC.
The Top of the Pops of the 50s and 60s is on the airwaves all the time. Engelbert Humperdinck, Jim Reeves, Elton John, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra, Dolly Parton and of course Elvis Presley.
This is a Listeners' Request show and the presenters have been on the air for decades.
It is that warm, personal communication and the still hugely popular music that makes this community tune into SLBC day in and day out.
Recently, in the course of a meeting with a resident in my neighbourhood I realised how this evergreen programme of the SLBC was the lifeline for senior citizens.
Shirley leads a retired life though she is in her late fifties. She hardly has any relatives and the few friends she has have been cultivated at the church she attends, which is not too often.
Shirley is coming to terms with all the ills and pains that come with ageing.
But she says the isolation that a changing neighbourhood in a place like Adyar forces on seniors like her is something that she is coming to terms with great difficulty.
Few neighbours talk freely. Fewer still are willing to extend a helping hand. Most keep to themselves, she says.
So it is the radio which is her companion. She has her favourites. Old Pop Hits on SLBC and a few Christian worship programmes. And her day is made when a SLBC host calls and chats 'live'!
Recently though Shirley has chosen another option to fight loneliness.
She has bought a cellphone and she encourages the few friends she has to call her. But there is one condition - the cellphone line is kept open only for two hours every morning.
I can't afford the bills and I hate these pesky marketing people, she says.
In our fast-changing neighbourhoods, some senior citizens have found ways to enjoy the sunshine. Many though want some warmth.

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