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With that in mind, Unmukt Festival, India’s biggest event for senior citizens, announced its presence in Hyderabad with the first Unmukt Knowledge Series programme in partnership with Google, the world’s No. 1 online search engine.

Over 70 silvers participated in the first of the series held on 9 October in Hyderabad. Addressing the gathering, Dr K R Gangadharan, Founder, Heritage Foundation, shared that though senior citizens are productive individuals, they are also vulnerable to abuse. Quoting a finding from a study by the London School of Economics, he added, “Indians get old when they become 60, but other countries talk about it only when they reach 80.” Speaking about Unmukt Festival, India’s first-of-its-kind festival for silvers, he said it aims to empower silvers while making them independent and tech-savvy. The festival will be held at HITEX, Hyderabad, on 15-16 December this year and addresses issues relevant not only to silvers but their families as well. Harmony-Celebrate Age is the media partner for the event.

Speaking at the event, Monimita Sarkar, Managing Director, KW Conferences, said the objective of the Unmukt Knowledge Series programme was to engage silvers in meaningful dialogue.

Releasing an online safety guide for elders in English and Hindi, Sujata Mukherjee, Trust & Safety Research and Outreach Lead, Google, laid emphasis upon the importance of online safety and explained some terminology from the guide in simple language to help silvers familiarise themselves with the terms. “The guide will soon be available in other languages too,” she added.

Google made a brief presentation on ‘Online Safety for Senior Citizens’, covering four areas: protecting online accounts, exercising care when sharing something online, identifying and avoiding scams, and keeping online conversations positive and respectful.

The guidelines included:

  • Keep your passwords strong and long with a minimum of eight to nine mixed characters, used in combination of lower and uppercase letters, numbers and symbols. Think of an easy-to-remember sentence; for instance, ‘I have two cats at home named Tom and Jerry.’ Take the first letter of each word using lowercase and uppercase letters and make ‘IhtcahnTaJ’. You can even replace letters with numbers or symbols and create the password, ‘Ih2c@hnT&J’.
  • Use password manager to remember multiple passwords.
  • Beware of online scammers who use different techniques to trick people into revealing their personal and financial details.
  • Exercise care while sharing—know what you are sharing and with whom. Most important, think about why are you sharing: Do they really need to know?
  • Keep online conversations positive and respectful. If you are subjected to cyberbullying, mute, block and report.

Dr Vasanth Kumar, General Physician, and Dr Sandeep Nayani, Neurologist, from Apollo Hospitals—the knowledge partner for Unmukt Festival—highlighted the importance of taking care of one’s physical and mental health as one ages. While dispelling the myth that high blood pressure is normal with ageing, Dr Nayani said people who walk for at least two miles per day are less likely to develop dementia. “Keep mentally active by solving crosswords and Sudoku, reading books, listening to music, and so on, to help prevent memory loss and prevent or delay the onset of dementia,” he said.

The concluding session of the day was on financial health. “The 35 years of income we generate has to provide for about 30 years after retirement,” said Kartik Damodar,
CEO, Guardian Capital Investment Advisors, who conducted the session. His presentation included an interactive game on the lifecycle of saving and investment as well as tips on analysing the market using easily available tools.

Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine
November 2018