Case Study: Raat Di Roti, Sikh Elders Service – Touchstone
Jesvinder Takher, Project Worker, on how Raat Di Roti helped one participant find happiness
Mrs K suffered bereavement when her husband passed away in 2010. The trauma resulted in loss of confidence to the point she was unable to leave the house and unable to drive her car. In recent years her health has declined further due to dementia.
In addition to the support from family she engaged with an SES befriender who accompanied her to local coffee shops and short walks. This helped her to regain some confidence and she realised her feeling of loneliness and being isolated within her own home had left her feeling anxious.
Mrs K asked for more support to help her to engage with other people. Not only did she wish to have regular connection with her befriender but also to connect with Punjabi-speaking peers.
Mrs K said to her befriender: “I need to see more of you because I’m lonely. I need to be with more friends but I’m too frightened to do it by myself.” Of how she was currently living she said: “This is not enough. I feel suffocated in the house.”
SES realised that Mrs K was at the high end of social isolation and loneliness and introduced her to the Raat Di Roti Project. She has participated in the project for over a year and, due to RDR introducing more social avenues to reduce her isolation and loneliness, she now appears happier and less anxious.
Within RDR Mrs K engages in light lunches with her befriender; connects with a Punjabi speaking family, enjoying a few hours of company whilst having an evening meal together; and participates in a group called ‘Cha Da Cup’ where she meets other Punjabi-speaking older people and enjoys lunch with a group every week.
Mrs K said: “I’m happy to be with you. If I don’t have the love of people, I have nothing.”
In previous years, particularly after suffering the loss of her husband, Mrs K was unhappy, anxious, lonely and socially isolated. She felt she couldn’t emotionally function without her husband and was unable to leave her home.
Through support provided by SES and RDR we now see a very different lady. Through her participation, with volunteers and other elders, she appears to be happy, friendly and enjoying all the social opportunities available to her.
For a few hours a week ‘happiness is all hers.’