Being a companion for the elderly makes them and us happy

Friday, 09/10/2020YogyakartaSiti Musfatun Khasanah

The last homecare activity of the Young Elderly Assistance Cadres in Watugedug Hamlet, Guwosari Village before the Covid-19 Pandemic, last March 2020.

Imperceptibly, it's been even three years since I and six friends of mine have become elderly companions. We got in on the act of mentoring activities for the elderly when we entered the 10th grade in Vocational High School. Frankly, one of the motivations to become a companion is to obtain a vocational scholarship from SurveyMETER conceding that becoming a Young Cadre for Elderly Assistance by being involved in elderly activities in our neighborhood: Watugedug Hamlet, Guwosari Village, Bantul Regency.

After participating in the activity, we seemed to forget the initial motivation. It turns out that being a companion for the elderly is fun. We only need to spend a little time a month to be able to accompany and give a little attention to the elderly. With elderly assistance, at least they don't feel left out of their group, feel cared for by the people around them, perceive that there are people who are a place to share their grievances, and no longer feel they have to be alone without attention from others.

Sometimes seeing them laugh out loud can make me feel relieved; oh, like this is the result of me spending a little time with them anyway. It was great to see them laugh when we joked around between activities. At least, it can relieve a little burden on their minds.

The routine activities of elderly companions include helping posyandu cadres in carrying out elderly Posyandu services once a month. We are skilled at helping the cadres to measure their blood pressure, weigh them and record it in a book. The purpose of measuring blood pressure is to control blood pressure every month so that if there is something that is not normal, they will consult with cadres and health workers in the village.

While waiting for the health measurement service to complete, they would chat and share stories with other elderly people. It was at that time that we occasionally joined in, so we and they laughed happily together.

After the health service, we held a variety of fun activities such as gymnastics, playing angklung, and occasionally doing outbound. Elderly gymnastics is carried out with female cadre instructors. While the instructor playing angklung will call a professional trainer from the area. After about 20-30 minutes of gymnastics or playing angklung, we would rest and then distribute food, beverages, and fruit for ourselves.

Oh yes, for the elderly who don't have anyone to pick them up and drop them off at the Posyandu and vice versa, we are their loyal pick-up and drop-off people on motorbikes.

The outbound activities we experienced were inviting and accompanying them to tour the historical sites of Selarong Cave. Coincidentally, the location is just next to our hamlet. During the outbound, we held simple games, such as playing with moving water using a bottle, playing assembling words with whispers, and many other ones. During the game, laughter erupted from all of us.

Also, once a month, we conduct home care visits for the elderly with health conditions that prevent them from going to the posyandu. At each visit, we measure blood pressure and ask for complaints about his health. Not infrequently, we join in the conversation and listen to other complaints they feel. At the end of the visit, we provided gifts to them.

We got many benefits while accompanying the elderly. Among them, my friends and I have more respect for our parents, especially for the elderly. We also gain experience on how to live socially and be helpful to society.

Our scholarship was completed last July 2020. And, since the pandemic, precisely the April, there have been no Posyandu services and assistance for the elderly in our hamlet. However, we intend to remain as their companions as best we can because we will always miss their laughter and our happiness together every afternoon once a month.