From the Viewsroom

Brightening up those twilight years

PT Jyothi Datta | Updated on October 11, 2020 Published on October 11, 2020

Age-friendly support will help the elderly walk a less lonely path

Loneliness is a state of isolation often linked to young individuals, living in big impersonal cities. Immersed in social media, they are disconnected with the real world that does not deliver instantly, at the click of a button.

But there’s another lot of individuals who do not have “followers” online and feel left behind by the dramatic changes in the world as we know it these days. The silver generation, the elderly, who are now dealing with the added loneliness that social distancing brings with it.

About a couple of years ago, a work-call to a high-flying professional revealed a palatial house in uptown Mumbai, a frail individual with failing eyesight, a lone house-help and a longing for conversation over a cup of tea. Family fissures were revealed to an abject stranger.

The novel coronavirus-induced lockdown has only introduced another layer of anxiety into such lives, where the elderly are living away from their families or have none to fall back on. The sheer surrealism of the lockdown coupled with the stress of not being able to physically access many services, groceries or the bank, for instance, creates a helpless added sense of dependency. In some urban-settings, support groups have been created to check on the elderly and their well-being. In the absence of familiar faces, the elderly are not only dependant, but are unsafe too, having to depend on others to navigate online purchases or worse, bank transactions.

Older people living within a family are just as lonely, as family-members could be busy with their social and professional pursuits. An older person once revealed that “unsolicited” calls with film dialogues from superstars (something most find annoying), was in fact the only call this person received, and looked forward to. Loneliness is an invisible, constant companion, even more so for the elderly. A lot more age-friendly support initiatives are required to brighten-up those twilight years, making it both safe and social for the increasing population of elderly people.

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Published on October 11, 2020
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