A talk organised in Pune to shed light on the need for new companions for senior citizens who have lost their partners has presented live-in relationships as an option they can consider.
Titled Togetherness: A Second Chance, the event was organised at Niwara, an old-age home in Navi Peth, on September 17 by Aashwast Services, a support service for senior citizens. It was aimed at addressing the fears and hesitations of people unfamiliar with concepts like live-in relationships. Around 65 seniors attended the talk.
“As per the values ingrained in a person at a young age, marriage is considered essential to solemnise a relationship. It takes courage to leave that idea behind and gather courage and take a step towards a live-in relationship, especially when a taboo persists in society,” social activist Sarita Awad, one of the participants in the talk, told The Indian Express.
Activists such as Madhav Damle, along with whom Awad operates a marriage bureau for seniors, and legal expert Advocate Nilima Mysore talked about the mental, social and legal aspects of live-in relationships.
Talking about the concerns of elderly women considering live-in relationships, Awad highlighted negative reactions from children and fear of a bad outcome. “Even when we are young, we don’t know how the marriage we are stepping into will turn out. But we still muster the courage and are ready to sustain the relationship. But at an old age, it can be difficult to sustain a new relationship. That is one of the fears,” she said.
Awad advised senior citizens to give things time before taking the big step. “It helps when two people meet and try to understand each other. Today we have so many modes of communication, like WhatsApp and email. They can be used to communicate and get to know each other more. Taking trips to understand compatibility should help,” she said.
Being honest about one’s financial situation and being financially independent are also necessary to make things work, Awad said, adding that honest conversations with families and friends could help in managing negative impacts on one’s social circle.
Emphasising the legal protection provided to live-in relationships, Mysore said the rights and concerns of the elderly are taken into account.
Damle shared stories of seniors who found companionship through marriage, but he also advised younger seniors, especially those in their fifties, to consider either remarriage or living together, rather than staying alone.
Aashwast co-founders Preeti Damle and Sheetal Vaidya interacted with the senior citizens.
Aashwast works towards the unity and welfare of senior citizens and provides assistance with tasks such as banking, medical consultations, attending events, travelling to distant places, emergency visits to hospitals and online tasks.
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