This is a story about a mother-daughter duo. This is a story depicting the power and magic of intergenerational collaboration. This is the story of how the DOBARA Senior Wellbeing Network adapted to the 2020 global lockdown.
DOBARA, (based in Hyderabad,India), is a non-profit organisation that has been a determined advocate of the ageing community since 2014 – it focuses on Senior Well Being and promoting Healthy and Active Ageing.
DOBARA is a senior well-being network with a magnificent blend of the old and the new. In all of its endeavours it strives to inspire generations to visualise people of 60 and older as societal assets . To the elderly, DOBARA helps them find joy and live with dignity by implementing a wide range of interventions to ensure all-round well being of the aged.
Being a first of its kind senior well-being network and community platform, its goal is to
encourage and support seniors to stay active by using their skills, knowledge and experience to help others in need.
Mateen Ansari, Founder of DOBARA is a Gerontologist with a Masters degree from the University of Southern California and Sameen Ansari, her daughter living in Europe, is the Creative Director.
As the world came to a halt in March 2020, so did the real world Well-Being Programs at DOBARA. Sameen was visiting India when the world went into lockdown and saw firsthand how distressed her mother was about not being able to help elders in the DOBARA way.
This mother-daughter team worked together and decided to turn a negative situation into something that would provide hope and respite. Together, after days of brainstorming and planning, they came up with the DOBARA Virtual Wellbeing Program which essentially converted DOBARA’s real world programs into an online format using Whatsapp and then later expanding to Zoom. What started off as a modest 15 Day Virtual Well-Being Pilot Program, launched on the 1st of April 2020 has now completed its 2nd successful year!
“One of the main factors we have to confront when dealing with senior citizen issues is loneliness. At DOBARA this is a major point of focus. Our goal is to do our very best to prevent an elder from feeling lonely and isolated. To do this, in the past we used to focus a lot on socialising through events and engaging our seniors in multiple activities. Keeping this in mind, our current format of virtual wellbeing has the very same focus which is to stave off the detrimental effects of isolation. The beauty of our virtual well being program is that right from the very beginning of the lockdown we have been actively engaged with our members and this has been beneficial not just for our elder members but for all the members from all age groups because loneliness and social isolation are issues that concern us all.
Our hope at DOBARA is that our members find us to be a supportive and caring community where they can really thrive and flourish.” – Mateen Ansari, Founder of DOBARA
The goal of creating the Virtual Wellbeing Program was to be able to continue having group activities – something meaningful, inclusive, accessible, something that eases everyone’s anxiety. Thus began a transformative journey of creativity and innovation.
Over the past 2 years, the DOBARA Virtual Well-Being Program expanded its activities and continues to be an enriching experience among the members that surpassed the physical barriers of location, time and distance.
Weaving simple yet well-researched activities based on the study of Gerontology, Neuroplasticity and IKIGAI (the Japanese concept of “a reason for
Living”) – The Virtual Program has daily interactive activities with well-being themes, tasks and challenges. DOBARA has essentially incorporated multiple effective therapies into this easy to follow weekly schedule.
The 24/7 DOBARA Virtual Well-Being Program is all about positive connections,
motivating interactions, finding new purpose, working together for good causes and holistic well-being. This has had a notable, qualitative, positive impact on the DOBARA members based around the world, in every time-zone.
This is also proof of the beauty and power of intergenerational collaboration. DOBARA believes that “It also takes a village to help our elders age successfully with grace and dignity”.