Saturday, May 22, 2010

Elderly get a phone-a-friend service Delhi (Listening Services)

Can someone from Delhi who has used this service give a brief review?
(or more details) The claim of 1200 volunteers appears rather unbelievable.
Elderly get a phone-a-friend service

New Delhi: The elderly, who are living a reclusive life due to
loneliness or age-related problems, now have reason to cheer with a
new initiative offering opportunities to talk and share their feelings
over phone.

Under "Adopt Through Telephone" scheme launched by the NGO Agewell
Foundation, volunteers speak on phone with older people and try to
mitigate their loneliness, says founder Himanshu Rath.

A study on the elderly conducted by the foundation shows that about 80
per cent of the surveyed Delhi residents in their 60s reported feeling
isolated despite an active life.

While only 11 per cent of old who live in joint families experience
loneliness, in nuclear families, over 70 per cent feel isolated, it

Differentiating between emotional and social isolation, the study
conducted in January this year among 10,000 citizens above age 60 in
20 states across all economic strata found that 44 per cent in cities
such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata felt both social and
emotional isolation.

"Elders become conscious of their looks with progress in age. They do
not feel comfortable interacting with others and loneliness creeps in
their lives in a big way," says Rath.

Social isolation stems from a dwindling friends circle, immobility and
a feeling of being ignored socially, while emotional isolation results
from strained interpersonal relations within family, say

"Bottling up and their psychological alienation reflects on their
physical state since in any case many old people are rather self
conscious of the changes in the appearance, facial expression etc,"
says Rath whose NGO runs a helpline for senior citizens.

"We found that many people used to call our helpline even if they did
not have any problem. On probing, we found that they were lonely and
did not have anybody to share their emotions with. So, we devised this
scheme to help them," he explains.

The organisation tied up with local housewives and youngsters to
volunteer their time and currently it has over 1200 volunteers,
including 800 women.

"I do not have a mother-in-law. Through this scheme, I have found
someone who gives me useful tips for my kitchen and on bringing up my
children," says Suman, a 32-year-old housewife who converses with a
67-year-old woman from another part of the city.

Meanwhile, Shantnu, a 70-year-old says, "My family does not stay with
me and I was very lonely before I began chatting with Dev. He is a
handy guy when I am in distress and keeps me...

Dr P Vyasamoorthy,
30 Gruhalakshmi Colony Secunderabad 500015 Ph 040-27846631 / 9490804278
My blog:

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