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Building friendship to battle old age loneliness

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Savya Shankar

BENGALURU: The park near BTM Udupi Garden in BTM Layout becomes lively every evening with the sounds of laughter and discussion of a group of around 20 senior citizens, who meet to share everyday events.  “Not single news is left out of discussion in our group. We discuss each and every news of the day, whether political, social, civic, national or International,” said Ram Nath Nair, a resident of BTM 2nd Stage.

A few of the senior citizens have kids who are based outside the country which makes it even difficult for them to stay alone at home and pass the time. In such a situation, the company of the peer group helps them fight their loneliness.

“Sometimes, we also meet for dinner at Anand Vihar, MTR, or Maiya’s and one of us pays the entire bill, and the format of paying bill is rotational,” said Maruthesh Rangappa jokingly.

“Both my kids are in Bangalore, they leave home early in the morning and are back only by late evenings,” added Mr Rangappa. He and his wife get bored at home so they go to the park with their colony friends and spend time with them.

In spite of advances in communication technology with cell phones, e-mail and video chats, researchers have found that people today are lonelier than they have ever been. Conversing and interacting with their peer group helps in battling their loneliness, and keeps their mental health fit and stable.

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