How Silver Talkies is Transforming Senior Living

Beny Sachdeva
Beny Sachdeva Jun 13, 2024 - 11 min read
How Silver Talkies is Transforming Senior Living image
Silver Talkies is  revolutionizing Active Aging with a Nationwide Engagement Platform, Nidhi Chawla, Chief Executive Officer& Co-founder, Silver Talkies talks about the services the brand offers and its expansion plans pan-India  

Discuss in brief about the inception & presence of your brand?

Silver Talkies (Active Age India Pvt Ltd) is a social impact organization the idea for which came to two stay-at-home young moms while observing the changes their own fathers were experiencing post their retirement. One found that retirement could be very boring and unexciting with ample free time at hand. Other realized that a lack of productive work and a social network could lead to social isolation and deterioration of health. Our search for meaningful opportunities for our parents went in vain and brought to our understanding the importance and need for creating an engagement and community platform exclusively for older adults. Hence Silver Talkies was born in 2014 as a partnership firm. Over the years our understanding of the needs of older adults got better and deeper and we ventured into areas of interest to them like planning and organizing exclusive in-person events and learning sessions for older adults allowing them to be lifelong learners, running an activity centre in Bangalore, organizing day trips and outstation travel etc. However, in 2020 the onset of the pandemic prompted us to rethink our business model and we pivoted into being a pan-India community and engagement platform for older adults running a wide variety of sessions online. This is when we created a private limited company and expanded our reach beyond Bangalore. Today we pursue a hybrid model offering opportunities of both online and offline engagement to our community members. They continue to learn, interact and engage through online sessions, attend weekly classes like yoga, pranayama, TaiChi, dance, language, bhajan, technology learning etc. from the comfort of their homes and also meet their friends at the Silver Talkies Club every 1-2 months at the city-chapter meet-ups. We currently have active city chapters in Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi/ NCR, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune. This multi-location presence has allowed our members to find multi-city friendships which has expanded their social networks beyond their immediate geographical boundaries. The hybrid model allows us to serve the needs of older adults across different decades of ageing. The younger and more active older adults travel with us, and be part of our cultural showcases and physical meet-ups while the older and lesser active older adults continue to stay engaged and connected through our online sessions and classes. We also offer the latter group buddy support through volunteers, offering them assistance and companionship. We understand that as a person grows older their healthcare needs become more pertinent and we strive to meet these and other needs like financial and legal advisory etc. through tie-ups with a curated set of partners.

The surveys by the likes of Agewell Foundation and Helpage India have reinforced our understanding as they too have identified loneliness, isolation and lack of social engagement opportunities as key concerns for the seniors. As per the Jug JugJiyenge survey, the younger adults seem to completely miss out on understanding the social and emotional needs of their elderly parents, which weigh heavily on their parent’s minds, impacting their mental health as well as physical health. Hence, our work includes all the seven dimensions of the active ageing framework as defined by WHO and the International Council of Active Ageing and encompasses social and emotional wellness in addition to physical, intellectual and vocational needs, ensuring the holistic well-being of older adults unlike most of the services available in the market that focus primarily on the physical health of seniors.

Our solution is a community platform (delivered via a web platform and mobile application) that adds the joy of connections and possibilities to the lives of older adults. Surrounded by their peer group they feel more at ease and even encouraged to do more for themselves and continue to be lifelong learners. Aided by a rich and diverse engagement calendar, classes and workshops, and meet-ups planned and hosted by the Silver Talkies team, their interactions are rich and span across varied interests.

The issue of lack of engagement opportunities or loneliness and isolation is addressed through the power of social networking. Aided by a hybrid model (a mix of online and offline), friends meet up locally as well as find them when travelling to different cities, as we emerge as a pan-India community with few members abroad as well. They exercise together over online classes, sing and dance together, learn new art forms, languages etc., and also share their skills and expertise with other members. They participate in volunteering opportunities and find companionship in each other. They are now digitally literate and look forward to their week full of activities and interaction.

We understand that with each decade of ageing physical and mental health take dominance in an older adult’s life. We are working at meeting all these needs of seniors under one roof via strategic tie-ups with carefully selected and leading players and experts across different segments of eldercare. These tie-ups include both service providers as well as experts across healthcare, diagnostics, wellness, age tech products, senior living, finance, legal, alternative therapies, entertainment and lifestyle categories etc.

Our learning in the last two years has been that technology can be a great tool to achieve scale and create a larger impact if harnessed mindfully by creating easy-to-use solutions for older adults, bearing in mind their challenges with technology adoption. The technology needs to adapt for the older adults to adopt it. Hand-holding and supporting older adults through tech open houses and digital literacy sessions have helped us take them along this empowered journey.

Silver Talkies members come from varied backgrounds and consist of homemakers to lawmakers; introverts and extroverts. Diverse personalities have found a home at Silver Talkies Club. They are well-educated and cosmopolitan in their attitude. They may be 55+ but they are young at heart with great zeal towards life. They are adventurers and lifelong learners, willing to experiment and explore new horizons. Hence diversity and quality in the offering are critical to our solutions.



Silver Talkies has been a pioneer in active ageing as we entered the space at a time when no one was talking about active engagement and tackling the loneliness and isolation issues of older adults. Our focus on improving the social and emotional well-being of older adults has had a positive impact on their physical and mental health too hence elevating their holistic well-being. Our focus has always been on creating solutions through our real and practical understanding and not theoretical knowledge of the needs of older adults. Our razor-sharp focus on these needs and creating solutions that are aligned to these needs has helped us create a differentiating factor. Also, we believe in the power of collaborations and do not intend to recreate everything in-house. This philosophy too has allowed us to partner with the best service providers in the space to extend an entire gamut of services for the seniors.

Where all are you present and what are your expansion plans?

We are currently a ten-member team including the core operations and the tech team. The year 2020 was a silver lining for us amidst the dark clouds. The pandemic pushed us to pivot our model from being a Bangalore only community to becoming a pan-India virtual community. Currently we have members from 12 different cities and city chapters active in six cities viz. Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi/ NCR, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune. With the help of our technology partner, we are working at offering our services through both web and mobile channels, making our services easily accessible through preferred channels. We would continue to simplify accessibility while leveraging technology to scale up and positively impact lives of seniors across the globe. Our vision is to be a global platform with city chapters, offering our engagement modules virtually while holding city meet-ups quarterly. We aim to be a one-stop solution for different needs of elders such that with each passing decade as the needs of elders change they find all solutions within the Silver Talkies ecosystem, either created and delivered by Silver Talkies team or a Silver Talkies partner. Currently, we are working at enhancing our value proposition and introducing the missing building blocks of the active ageing framework. We envision an empowered society of older adults who have learnt to take care of themselves and are able to age with grace and dignity.

What kind of business opportunity do you offer your partners in terms of collaboration, investment & growth?

We believe in the power of collaboration and believe that each one of us should play to our strengths and partner for the rest. We partner with companies with services for our TG and having multi-city presence. We offer them visibility amongst our members and our members access to their services. Our engagement programs are available to our partners to offer their clientele as value-added service and enhancing their value proposition to their customers.

Any plans to expand via franchising or any other business partnership model and by when?

We are open to expanding into different cities through a revenue-sharing partnership model where our local partner will receive all required knowledge and assistance to run Silver Talkies chapter in their local cities. We will help them by onboarding partners and experts relevant to their geographies onto the platform and market their city chapters, give access to the tech platforms to run their chapters seamlessly.

What kind of potential do you see in this industry five years down the line?

For a country that is aging so rapidly we are highly ill-equipped to take care of our elderly. To make matters worse, as per surveys every second elderly complains of loneliness, social isolation, and lack of engagement opportunities. With the breakdown of joint families, the advent of nuclear families, empty nests, higher longevity, and early retirement age, seniors find themselves struggling to stay productive and engaged. With every decade of ageing, the physical and emotional needs of an individual undergo a huge shift which the youngsters are not attuned to, hence unable to solve for. With weak social security systems and expensive and limiting health insurance covers, older adults are left exposed and can strain the public healthcare system. This can fundamentally alter disease burdens, economies and trade, and human migration.

Back when we started there were hardly any players in the eldercare space, many of them being in the unorganized sector. Over time we saw many companies with interesting concepts come and go, either because the market was not ready for the idea or there was no funding available to scale up. The focus continued to be on physical health and senior living. Concepts like companionship, second careers and engagement continued to be unheard of. Over the years the landscape has been evolving and hopefully shifting for the better. Even the healthcare and senior living sector are seeing more depth in terms of the kinds of offerings that are coming up in the market. Home healthcare, transition and palliative care are emerging; assisted living and ageing in place concepts are being introduced and are better understood.

 However, there remains a large unexplored territory that an integrated approach towards promoting holistic well-being of an older adult requires. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health refers to “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” as many older adults have one or more health conditions that, when well controlled, have little influence on their wellbeing. Pandemic highlighted the emotional and social well-being needs of seniors like never before and spotlighted the need for looking at an integrated approach towards creating programs and policies for promoting their overall well-being, beyond their physical health. The government, startups and organizations are now recognising the needs of older adults and see a large potential opportunity space as there are huge gaps that need to be filled with quality product and service offerings. The sector is still an emerging sector as there are many milestones yet to be covered, both from the demand and supply side. With the next generation of seniors who are used to a different lifestyle, have better financial freedom and have a strong desire to stay well and independent, the scene may improve and emerge for the better as they would seek better and quality services to suit their ageing lifestyle and the industry will catch up with its offerings.


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