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Crisis of urban loneliness

THE ASIAN AGE. | SURIDHI SHARMA
Published : May 29, 2017, 12:26 am IST
Updated : May 29, 2017, 12:26 am IST

Asheesh Gupta has been at the helm of a crusade to help people fight loneliness.

The Samarth team that works closely with care managers to improve the lives of the educated elderly.
 The Samarth team that works closely with care managers to improve the lives of the educated elderly.

Loneliness is one of the major banes of urban life. And it precipitates stress and depression. Asheesh Gupta has been at the helm of a crusade to help people fight the urban loneliness crisis. And his special focus is the educated elderly.

“There is a segment of our society that is often forgotten — the educated elderly. A lot of people think that they don't need any help. While it would be wrong to call them helpless, many of them actually need help,” says Asheesh Gupta, co-founder of Samarth, an organisation that works closely with care managers in order to make the lives of educated elderly better. The organisation works in more than 40 cities across the country.

“We aim to bring smiles and happiness to their faces. My own parents are old and whenever I visit them, there are errands to run and chores to help with. Things as simple as changing a bulb or payment of bills require assistance at times. So just like children help their parents, we appoint caretakers who then help people,” he says.

Asheesh GuptaAsheesh Gupta

Most of the caretakers are the younger elderly, people in their late 50s and early 60s. “It is important that people who get associated with our project are compassionate about the cause,” explains Asheesh.

“Loneliness is the biggest point of concern for the elderly. With children having moved away and some having lost their partners, life can prove tough. One of our aims is to help people meet potential friends and partners through our programs,” he says.

While the younger generation communicates and meets through internet, many among the older generation don’t have access to internet and often despite having access, do not have the knowledge to operate it, which is also where the organisation offers help.

He is also working toward helping the elderly hone their skills and check out job prospects. “One has to understand that these people were once employed and have a vast skill set and knowledge that they acquired over the years. This experience is invaluable and if channeled in the right direction, won’t just keep them busy but will also produce marvelous results in places where they contribute,” he explains. They help the eligible candidates meet the right companies and tap job opportunities.

The Samarth team imagines a future where the older generation will not have to be at the mercy of others and will be self-dependent. “After all, we all are headed that way eventually,” he concludes.

Tags: asheesh gupta, depression, urban life