“I cannot watch this.”
“In tears.”
“Respect your elders.”

THIS is what people had to say after they caught a glimpse of the abuse that senior citizens endured in this heartbreaking video which captures the work of SHEOWS, an NGO in Delhi that rescues old people who have been abandoned by their families. 

Senior citizens are often mistreated to the point where their lives are in danger but there is no one to help them. This abuse happens for many reasons. Financial greed, property transfers or even personal grudges lead people to beat, starve and push their elderly parents and grandparents onto the streets. Once these old people come to the realization that they have been abandoned, they are forced to deal with the emotional pain – while trying to learn how to live on their own.

SHEOWS understands and recognizes what these neglected elderly parents go through. “The mother who raised her child and gave him an education”, shares the founder of SHEOWS, “is beaten and thrown out of the house by that same child who has no sympathy in his heart for his own mother.” This is the personal experience of most of the 500 elderly people who are rescued by Saint Hardyal Educational and Orphans Welfare Society (SHEOWS), and given a safe, warm and loving home at the Guru Vishram Vridh Ashram.

The heart behind SHEOWS

SHEOWS was founded in 1994 by Dr. GP Bhagat who wanted to save elderly people from the dangers of abandonment. Before he founded the NGO, Dr. Bhagat’s life was dedicated to education. But the entire time he was focused on his academic research, he was also passionate about serving humanity. This is because helping old people had always been his father’s dream. The more he witnessed the suffering of parents who roamed the streets, he became determined to help them. While setting up SHEOWS, Dr. Bhagat wanted the home (Guru Vishram Vridh Ashram) to be a “home away from home”. He knew that in addition to shelter, it should provide emotional support and care to help people recover from the trauma of abandonment. Since its establishment, SHEOWS has rescued and cared for more than 7,000 elders and helped them live fulfilled lives. Your donation can help SHEOWS care for more seniors in desperate need.

SHEOWS: from rescue to recovery

SHEOWS focuses on alleviating every aspect of suffering in the life of an elderly abandoned person. This starts from searching the streets for homeless elders and helping them get back on their feet:

a) Rescue

Elderly people who are missing or abandoned are often brought into the SHEOWS Guru Vishram Vridh Ashram by the police or local authorities. SHEOWS also has a team of professionals that works around the clock to rescue seniors in need and bring them to the safety of either of the homes in Delhi or Garhmukhteshwar in Uttar Pradesh. Once they arrive at the home, they are given clothing and immediate medical attention by the in-house SHEOWS medical team.

b) Medical care

SHEOWS has a medical team of doctors and nurses that is on the premises 24/7 to tend to the various health-related concerns of its 500 residents. There is a 40-bed special care unit, pharmacy, physiotherapy center, pathology lab and an ambulance service. Equipment such as MRI, CT-Scan, X-Ray, ventilators and wheelchairs are also readily available for the elderly who require specialized medical care. For those with dementia, there is a team of caregivers including a visiting neurologist to ease their suffering through treatment and support. SHEOWS also went the extra mile to keep the seniors safe and healthy during the pandemic and this paid off – no one in the home contracted COVID-19.

c) Nutrition

The seniors living in the SHEOWS homes have 3 nutritious and balanced meals a day that are catered to their individual nutritional requirements. Since elderly people have multiple health-related issues such as hypertension and Diabetes, the SHEOWS team prepares nutritious food and ensures the residents eat their meals on time. In addition to meals, the team also provides milk, organic fruits and vegetables and nutritional supplements to boost their strength and immunity. 

d) Recreation

In addition to meeting people’s basic needs, SHEOWS also prioritizes the mental and emotional health of the residents. This is because many of the elderly are devastated at being abandoned by their children. The team organizes musicals, indoor games, plays, painting, yoga and celebrations during festivals to bring joy into the lives of the elders and give them a chance to socialize. To keep them active, SHEOWS lets them try their hand at candle-making and other hobbies.

e) Personal care

Sometimes, the rescued elderly are simply lost and cannot find their way home due to old age. In these cases, the NGO helps them get in touch with their family members and keeps them safe at the Guru Vishram Vridh Ashram until they are reunited. Furthermore, many elders who are abandoned have no family members to handle their funeral arrangements or last rites when they pass away. SHEOWS makes sure to tend to these needs based on the personal traditions of each individual and give them a special farewell.

SHEOWS needs your help

The impact of SHEOWS’ mission to rescue and care for abused senior citizens is already being felt in the communities around the home as more and more elders are being brought to the Guru Vishram Vridh Ashram. But Dr. Bhagat needs support to afford the medicines, facilities and shelter to give the 500 elders who depend on SHEOWS for their survival. As the costs continue to increase and more grandparents come to the home, SHEOWS needs your help to afford the high cost of caring for as many abandoned elderly people as possible. 

“I have been serving these elderly as if they were my own parents”, shares Dr. Bhagat. “I want only one thing, that their tears should vanish and they should have a smile on their faces.” To help Dr. Bhagat, donate here to the SHEOWS fundraiser and help more than 500 abused and abandoned elderly live the rest of their lives being cared for in an environment of love and compassion. Your charitable donation to SHEOWS’ fundraiser on Give will help Dr. Bhagat continue his dream of ensuring that no old person is left alone to suffer after being abandoned.

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