Taking care of Senior citizens in lockdown COVID-19


By NS Desk 06-May-2020

Dr. Ashima Sardana

Dr. Ashima Sardana

This current situation of lockdown amidst the pandemic COVID -19 has made us re-thinks, re-analyze, retrospect and restructure our Lifestyle. People of all age-groups are confined at home In Urban scenario, with variety of family set-ups-Joint/Nuclear/Paying Guest homes and other forms of shared accommodations are all at home. There is limited space, the long day of household chores and professional work, as also the pertinent question of keeping younger and older generation engaged, secure and fit.

Perhaps for elderly, there is not a change of routine, but there is drastic change in the lives of all around them thereby causing an alteration in the emotional environment. The long happy holiday has ended, it is now mundane and a change that none of the age groups are enjoying. For the aged, there are issues of slowing down, not being able to take in too much noise &activity around, degeneration, debility, exhaustion due to high-wrung children leading to disturbances in diet and sleep routines.

Immunity may be compromised due to medication for chronic illnesses too. And the fact that they have not really thought about equipping themselves for the changing “RITU” .this time it’s not just the season but the compulsions of the current “kaal” as in the erratic unhealthy situation that has an unforeseen effect and an unrealized stress on them.

So, besides re-iterating certain facts about Ritu charya and dincharya ,which many of my wise colleagues have talked about ,and are imparting awareness  about the do’s and don’t’s ,let us take a look at some FAQ’s that I deal with.


What can I do to ensure that my digestion is in order, as I do not feel very hungry/the dishes prepared are not catering to my old-school taste-buds/my bowels are not clear as I am not going for my walks?


People regard a daily bowel movement, eating 3 meals a day and 1-2 cups of tea as a mark of good digestion. Still they encounter difficulty in passing stools or suffer from bloating, acidity, flatulence etc. they are picky about what they eat being unsure of how it will affect.

Simple tips like using spices from the kitchen moderately and correctly can aid this issue. Your-go-to spices are:-

  1. Bhuna zeera
  2. Black pepper
  3. Ginger powder
  4. Turmeric
  5. Cow ghee
  6. Saunf      .
  1. Instead of chat masala, sprinkle zeera and black pepper on all fruits and salads you consume, which should be consumed before Sunset at room temperature.
  2. Lubricate your digestive system while treating yourself with a small serving of sheeera /halwa ,spiced with elaichi, saunf and dalchini as an early evening indulgence.
  3. Always watch your hunger, sip on warm water before lunch and dinner.
  4. Vegetable juices or smoothie of Mint-Coriander-Basil is a good coolant, so are Coconut water ,thin buttermilk, and a not-so sour lemonade. spiced again with the digestion aids like zeera ,black pepper, saunf. You may experiment with your taste-preferences here. Avoid Dahi. Iced drinks not advisable. skip lentils /pulses from Dinner.
  5. Warm spiced milk is a good lubricant –a small cup will suffice. Do not forget elaichi and black pepper. Milk is not an accompaniment with lunch and Dinner.
  6. Cow ghee on chappati or a desi tawa wala toast is a good snack.


How do I use the following? AYUSH is directing the use of Honey/Tulsi/Giloy/Turmeric/Dalchini? Should I take all together in breakfast? Will it Detoxify my body a? Will I improve on my Immunity if I consume only these things?


Honey –Take half a spoon, few drops of ginger juice and a small sprinkle of black peper, keep the breathing channels clear, expectorates and cleans. Honey can be added to herbal teas at a temperature that you want your beverage .Do not Reheat. Honey and lemon in warm water in the morning may not be suitable for everyone. Lemon in allergy season may increase irritation.

Tulsi/cinnamon/black pepper can be added to regular teas and to make masala chai or herbal tea .can even be used for spiced milk, sprinkles are enough ,generous amounts won’t make anyone well faster. These spices very well take care of the body functions, airway  , digestion. As all dhatus are nourished well with a good functioning of organ systems, Oj is good, hence the immunity.

Turmeric is good in our cooking, So also in Milk and even in besan or atta sheeras. You may like to check the Turmeric latte version. But do not heat after honey is added.

Giloy boiled in water is consumed by many people these days as it is grown in kitchen gardens as well. Giloy stem(6inch) used to  make a decoction ,boiled in a glass of water reduced to ¼ th of the water is a normal way to take, You may add honey .Expressed juice of stem in honey is also acceptable. Giloy capsules are also in use ,As Giloy is a very bitter herb. Giloy satva may be prescribed in some way by an Ayurveda Doctor near you. Amritarishta is also to be taken under medical supervision, so is packaged Giloy juice.


Why is oiling of nostrils prescribed in this Pandemic?

Is steam Inhalation also helpful?


Old age is a period of Vata vitiation ,so Vata needs Snehan ie Lubrication for balancing ,it is the simplest way to deal with the degeneration and erosion that Vayu Dosha causes. A little cow ghee on chapatti is always helpful.

  1. Oiling of all our orifices is indeed helpful, Ears, nostrils, navel is the simplest.
  2. For irritations in the eyes even when cataract is there for elderly, application of  a drop or two like ANJAN in eyes is very nourishing.
  3. Kanwal /Gandoosh –oil  pulling as it is called these days keeps the buccal cavity, gums & teeth nourished too.
  4. In case of feeling of tightness of chest, applying oil there followed by ‘seka’ with a simple potli of salt or of ajwain helps too. Steam with water boiled with Tulsi /ajawain/elaichi/haldi/dashmool will help  in case where we have phlegm accumulation due to KAFA vitiation is there in Spring. As we progress towards Summer we need to be careful with steam inhalation and the duration we give it for.
  5. Ano-rectal application is helpful for a smoother bowel movement too.
  6. Snehan on head and body joints helps the elderly sleep better,therby cobating stress that may be induced with change in the environment for them due to more activity and sound and heavier food around them in the lockdown.


Why is Chyawanprash highly recommended? Is it Suitable for elderly or more so for younger age group?


Chyawanprash when prepared in the authentic way as per the textual directions aims to cure the complaints of the Shwasn Sansthan ie Respiratory Tract, hence curing Kas Rog, Trishna, Debility, degeneration, breathing issues, issues of lungs, chest, heart, hoarseness of voice, throat ,larynx in all age groups.

  1. In growing children it aids nourishment by ensuring proper functioning of all body systems and dhatu –poshan.
  2. In no way is  Chywanprash a replacement for regular food or ahaar. This is to supplement the normal diet of an individual


Amala/Haritaki/Pippali/Giloy/Aloe Vera/Ghiya juice/Karela juice, will these protect me in old age in any way?


Harad/Haritaki: is a herb that is a holistic herb, not only is it easy to digest, aids digestive power ;it also ensures that all doshas work to aid smooth functioning of the body.It ensures balancing of the  vata a & pitta  doshas and nourishing for Body & Mind. This as a supplement to normal well balanced nourishing diet ensures that all nutrition is utilized well .It has a warming effect so all flows well in our system.

Amla: Again a holistic cooling herb, that aids body functions at minutest level balancing Vata and kapha ,its sourness and coolness catalyses body reactions and improves absorption & assimilation. These two are the ultimate Rejuvenating Herbs.

Pippali-it is a good rejuvenation herb in current context. To be taken with a lubricating medium like milk/ghee or honey due to its warming effect. It is a wonderful channel clearing herb specifically works on Respiratory system. Can be used like a nutritional supplement to protect breathing disorders in elderly, a piece or 2 is enough ,so is few pinches alongside normal diet.

Aloe vera: It is a great tridosha balancer, having a mild laxative effect to being a great skin nourishes externally. It also heals the soft tissues and internal mucosa of the body. In small quantities alongside a morning healthy routine. Aloe vera keeps degeneration of body cells at bay. Can be used internally and externally.

Giloy- boiled in water is consumed by many people these days as it is grown in kitchen gardens as well. Giloy stem(6inch) used to  make a decoction ,boiled in a glass of water reduced to ¼ th of the water is a normal way to take, You may add honey .Expressed juice of stem in honey is also acceptable. Giloy capsules are also in use ,As Giloy is a very bitter herb. Giloy satva may be prescribed in some way by an Ayurveda Doctor near you. Amritarishta is also to be taken under medical supervision, so is packaged Giloy juice.

Ghiya/karela /amla/aloe vera juice: All herbs vegetables etc have a healing ,curing or nourishing effect on the body. the whole herb or parts of it or extracts & juices of the herbs have different properties by virtue of processing. A juice or extract of a herb or vegetable will have a cooler and a more drying effect hence increasing vata as compared to the whole herb in itself. Such properties are to be considered before prescribing to anyone what season, condition, digestive power, age  etc. Not every juice, everything raw will essentially heal or strengthen the body. Whole foods and herbs indigenous to an area and usual methods of cooking or processing render such home remedies effective or ineffective

These herbs are supplement and in no way a replacement for a main meal likes breakfast. Our home, kitchen and kitchen garden are a treasure of herbs and herbal foods, knowing and utilizing these well with the principles of Dincharya & Ritucharya is the ultimate Mantra to good Immunity. ( Dr. Ashima Sardana)

Read More - Prakriti and Nadi are two extraordinary things in Ayurveda: Dr. Ashima Sardana​

Disclaimer - The aim of the article is just to convey information to you. Use any medicine, therapy, herb or fruit please do it under the guidance of a qualified Ayurveda doctor.