The Telegraph
Saturday , March 22 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

HUG to bridge gap and come closer to elderly
- Youths and professionals to take out time from their schedule and forge friendship with senior citizens

Elderly persons in Patna have something to cheer about finally.

The state chapter of HelpAge India, an NGO, would launch a programme titled “Help Unite Generations” next month in which youths, mainly college students and professionals, would be motivated to adopt an elderly person and bring a positive change in his/her life.

Girishchandra Mishra, state chief, HelpAge India, said the programme would help bridge the gap between elderly people and the younger generation.

He said: “According to the programme, youths, mainly students and corporate professionals, would be asked to adopt a senior citizen. We would organise programmes for this at many places in the city, including colleges. Youths would be asked to spend time with the adopted elderly people. They would be asked to visit the elderly person’s home at least once a week.”

He added: “They would also be asked to help the adopted elderly person with medical appointments and bank visits. Taking them out for walks and movies, too, would be part of the initiative. The aged would be given contact details of the youth so that they can seek help when required. However, it would depend on the youths about how they would like to do for the elderly.”

According to Mishra, around 10,000 elderly people are associated with the NGO in urban areas, while around 13,000 are associated with the NGO in rural places and they would be benefited by this initiative.

“There are many senior citizens who don’t have people around to share their feelings with even though they are surrounded by family members. Sometimes, owing to the busy schedule of their family members, they don’t get time to interact with them and they feel very lonely. Life becomes very tough for elderly people who have been abandoned by their family members. They face difficulty in doing their work when they are in an advanced stage. Visiting banks and clinics become difficult. If youths take out some time and devote even a few hours to help these people, it would be a great gesture,” added Mishra.

He said HelpAge has made an application that has to be signed by the elderly person and the youth.

“We would also give a band to the youths which they would have to tie on the hands of the elderly person they want to adopt. This would help begin their friendship,” Mishra said.

Senior citizens are only too happy with the initiative by HelpAge India. “My children are forcing me to get the property registered in their name. I am an outsider in my own house. I am not even offered tea, coffee or lunch. I have to arrange all these things. I would say this is a very good initiative taken by HelpAge. If the NGO is able to bring youths to help elderly people even for their small requirements, it would be of great help,” said Suresh Prasad (name changed), an elderly, who has been associated with HelpAge for the past few years.