A first-of-its-kind initiative to encourage single senior citizens to find live-in partners is being organised in Mumbai on April 7.
Aptly named the Senior Citizens Jeevan Saathi Sammelan, the free event is being organised by Ahmedabad-based NGO Vina Mulya Amulya Seva in association with Mumbai-based NGO Silver Inning Foundation and the Rotary Club of Nariman Point.
“In an age when children do not have the time to take care of their parents, it is a good idea to find a like-minded person to share the last years of life with, rather than being lonely, depressed and unhappy,” says Natubhai Patel of Vina Mulya Amulya Seva, which has been organising such events in Gujarat for about a year, drawing as many as 300 people per meet.
Patel began the matchmaking events for senior citizens in 2003, but soon realised that many did not want to remarry for fear of censure from their children, families and society as well as fear of future disputes over family property.
“Some also depended heavily on their late spouse’s pension, which they would lose if they married again," says Patel. "Given all these considerations, we thought live-in relationships could be a good alternative."
He accordingly shifted the focus of his meetings last year, after preliminary research showed that there were a number of single seniors eager to explore speed-dating and non-marital relationships.
At his meetings, each participant describes themselves to the group, mentioning hobbies, interests etc, after which those interested in meeting face-to-face can get together. "The event is open to divorced, widowed or single senior citizens," says Sailesh Mishra of Silver Inning. "Those who wish to remarry are welcome too."
A lawyer and a counsellor will also be present, to offer guidance and advice to participants.