ndia, with the youngest population in the world, is regularly faced with a dilemma regarding deteriorating conditions for its elderly. Often senior citizens complain about the increasing distance between them and their offspring and in turn their grandchildren, which usually becomes cause for illness, both mental and physical. According to HelpAge India, which works for the welfare of the elderly, out of the 100 million elder people in India, 30 million live alone without companionship or support.

HelpAge India has thus launched a series of initiatives to help ensure better welfare for the elderly of the country. One of them is H.U.G- Help Unite Generations, which hopes to bring together the youth and senior citizens around the country. The campaign kicked off on March 29, 2013— HelpAge India’s 35{+t}{+h}anniversary.

The HUG campaign involves young volunteers choosing an elder friend, who may or may not be related to them. After which, the volunteer ties a bracelet around the elder person’s wrist which has the volunteer’s name and contact details. It essentially aims to establish a communication network between the two. The two can talk about anything they wish, become each other’s confidant, or even share a hug or two.

Contrary to villages, older people residing in urban areas feel more desolate, recorded HelpAge India. Depression due to loneliness, isolation from one’s own family is fast becoming an urban phenomenon. It is to tackle this that the HUG campaign is launched.

HelpAge India has also launched the AdvantAge Card for those over 50 years. Many elders face problems with diminishing funds post-retirement. Not all who turn to their children for financial assistance are received well.

AdvantAge helps to maintain financial independence. The card offers access to discounted prices on wellness centres for age health related services, travel and holiday packages, fitness products, legal assistance, hospitals and clinic services, pharmaceutical items, among others. AdvantAge also has online networking services through blogs, to stay connected with old friends and make new ones.

HelpAge India offers a slew of initiatives for senior citizens