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Love and Light

Region 1 - Service Day: Serving the Elderly

The sun was shining brilliantly as many volunteers from many centres within Region 1 started to create a party atmosphere for the young elderly. I say ‘young elderly’ because, although our guests might have been old in age, they were by no means old at heart, mind or spirit! Tables and chairs were arranged neatly, balloons were filled with helium, snacks and a very large amount of hot water for the tea were prepared and, lastly, the tables were sprinkled with a light dusting of glittery stars. ‘Stars’ was the theme of our party for the young elderly and we had hand-made purple broaches and banners to accompany the theme. It was dazzling!

The guests started to arrive, driven safely to the venue by a number of our service volunteers. They were accompanied to their seats, where they were welcomed with…a cup of tea! And along with that, simply someone to talk to. Some of our guests spend the majority of their time in their houses, and as one of our volunteers discovered through conversation, only in two or three rooms of the house: the remaining rooms being never opened, never needed. With this in mind, it was such a magnificent opportunity for us all to be in the company of these thirty-two (young) elderly people, with their immense knowledge, wisdom and even jokes!

Although the main ingredient was of course tea, there were many other bursts of entertainment to enjoy during the afternoon. I mentioned that our guests told us a few jokes: we handed the microphone around and one lady in a brilliant blue dress entertained us with many interesting jokes! I think that’s the best word for them: they did have everyone laughing, that’s for sure!

Bingo was thoroughly enjoyed by all, although concentration was at its highest at this stage! A lot of the right numbers were called out so it was good that there were many prizes to be won. Not only was it enjoyable to see our lovely guests react to their numbers being called out, the way in which the numbers were called out was highly entertaining. With a little background history here and joke or phrase there, one of our volunteers created lots of laughter for our guests who enjoyed being entertained whilst playing their game.

We even had the pleasure of hearing ‘Elvis’ who was a big hit with our guests; he even went as far as to say, “Thank you, thank you very much,” when handed a cup of tea! As our Elvis impersonator sang many hits from the fifties and sixties, our guests felt the urge to get up and dance, and so they did. Our volunteers had the greatest honour of being able to dance beside them, along with them and even be shown a few good dance moves from the experts themselves. The energy in the hall was amazing: laughter everywhere, bubbles being blown from every corner by both adults and children, ‘One more tea, please!’ being called to the kitchen every two minutes…and everyone smiling, happy to be there.

As the afternoon came to an end, we let our guests know and one lady said, “Why don’t we carry on for one more hour?” This virtually explained that they had all enjoyed the day and wanted more and did not want to return to their lonely houses. This is where we can help, by providing company and conversation to those who are in need of it. It won’t be long until the next enjoyable afternoon with our senior guests and we look forward to serving them as we did this time. As goodie bags were given out to each of our special guests, they were guided out as the sun still shone beautifully and were driven home safely. What a perfect end to a perfect day.

Now sitting back and thinking of the entire event, I feel that we in fact served none other than our beloved Lord who just happened to be in different forms. Swami always said that it is only by serving mankind that we can serve the Lord; by serving these seniors, we served more than we expected and it was indeed our most humble service to our beloved Swami to whom, with tears in my eyes, I’d like to shout out, “THANK YOU, DEAR SWAMI, FOR THE HUMBLE PRIVILEGE OF SERVING YOU.”

Saini Baladharan (Mitcham Sai Group)