City does not respect its elders | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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City does not respect its elders

Do you know that June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day? Well, for those who smirk at their lack of awareness, here's more startling news - nearly a third of the elderly citizens of Chandigarh are abused, and mostly by their children.

chandigarh Updated: Jun 15, 2012 13:44 IST
Eileen Singh

Do you know that June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day? Well, for those who smirk at their lack of awareness, here's more startling news - nearly a third of the elderly citizens of Chandigarh are abused, and mostly by their children.


Help Age India, a charity working for the country's aged, has released a survey report that says 32.71% of the city's senior citizens (those above 60 years of age) are facing abuse, in the form of disrespect and mental torture, from their own families in Chandigarh. That is worse than the average of 31% reported in the survey that covered 20 cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Patna, Panaji, Ahmedabad, Shimla, Jammu, Kochi, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Puducherry, Jaipur, Chennai, Dehradun and Lucknow. A total of 5,600 elders were interviewed, 280 from each city, in the survey conducted earlier this year.

"Shockingly, 75% of those who faced abuse lived with their families, and 69% in fact owned the house," said Bhavneshwar Sharma, Help Age state head in charge of Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and J&K.

In Chandigarh, 56% of the abused were elderly women. "Nationwide, the primary abuser is the son, in 56% cases, followed by the daughter-in-law, 23% cases. At least 24% of those abused face the trauma daily," added Sharma.

As per the survey, 44% of the elderly identified disrespect as the common form of abuse, followed by neglect (30%) and verbal abuse (26%). But when it came to reporting the abuse, only 45% did. "We can clearly see that the elderly abused in the city and around the country, reported the matter to a close family member, and the second choice was to confide in a relative. They avoid going to police for the fear of disrepute," said Sharma.

At least 75% of the city's elderly are above matric-pass, but education apparently has little effect. "Police helplines are known to a majority of those abused (45%) but are never used, probably due to lack of trust or to maintain family honour. In fact, 62% suggested that the most effective way to tackle elder abuse was sensitisation of children and strengthening of inter-generation bonding." But 38% said they had to be financially independent to avoid abuse.Owning the house does not matter either. "Of the respondents in Chandigarh, 63% lived with the family, 27% lived with the spouse only, and 7% lived alone. At least 61% owned the house in which they lived."