“Come grow old with me, the best is yet to be,” said Robert Browning in 1864 and his words aptly describe lives of two couples.
Studies have shown that love plays a vital role in increasing longevity and on the eve of Valentine’s Day, stories of these couples’ to walk that extra mile for their beloved will set an example of relationship goals for the younger generation.
Both Vishnukant Sawant and Daisy Fernandes (names changed) are sexagenarians, who are in a live-in relationship for eight years. While Sawant is 68-year-old, Fernandes is 62-year-old. They met each other in a garden and eventually fell in love.
“Daisy used to visit the garden everyday with her friends. I used to always see her in the garden. Then, one day I decided to strike a conversation with her and eventually, we became good friends. Daisy is partially visually-disabled since childhood and I have disability in my right hand. We both were single then and never got a partner because of our disabilities. One day, we decided to be together, but we did not want to marry. So, we decided to have a live-in relationship,” said Sharma.
It’s been eight years since the two took the decision.
“We support each other with each other’s disability and we together feel we have the ability to do anything,” said Daisy.
Despite following different religions, having disabilities and the age difference, this couple has broken all the norms of the society and are living happily together.
“Our love has given us the strength to face society and made us confident to live a joyous life,” said Sharma.
Even psychologists and psychiatrists strongly opine that love does help increase longevity.
Raheen Jaiswal, Founder and Psychologist, NGO Open Your Arm, said, “Love is as essential for our life as food and water is to our body. Love from any relationship is a strong support for everyone and love gives security as well as adds happiness to our lives. This, in turn, increases longevity.”
Giving an example, Jaiswal said her 66-year-old father-in-law suffers from forgetfulness, but her mother-in-law’s love and support helps him to remain active in his work and continue with his daily life.
“My mother-in-law’s support helps my father-in-law to live his life and this emotional support helps him balance his work and mind,” added Jaiswal.
Milan Doshi, a 57-year-old Mumbai resident, lost his wife in 2014. After his wife’s demise, his health deteriorated and loneliness engulfed him.
Soon, he realised that he is in need of companionship.
“I approached NGO Anubandh Foundation Vinamulay Seva, as I was feeling lonely. They helped me find a companion. I met Dipa, who is 50-year-old, and I married her. We got married last year in court, taking the blessings from our families. Dipa was a divorcee, but within a year of our marriage, she became my backbone. Our loneliness has disappeared and we are very happy. We believe life is nothing without love and loneliness is the worst enemy,” said Doshi.
Dr Sagar Mundada, Psychiatrist at KEM Hospital, said love helps in keeping emotional and mental health stable.
“When a person is emotionally and mentally stable, it helps him / her to live life joyfully and it also improves their lifespan. In a loving relationship and in the company of a partner, one feels fresh and can live longer,” said Mundada.
Dr Vasant Mundra, Consulting Psychiatrist, PD Hinduja Hospital, said mind is an expensive part of the body and it plays an important role in everyone’s life.
“Emotional help is very necessary for physical help. When a person is happy and positive in their life, longevity automatically increases,” he said.
He added that a study found that men who are alone tend to die earlier than women.
“Loneliness kills. But, sharing life with a partner boosts your emotional balance, which helps you feel positive and happy,” said Mundra.