44% elderly abused in public spaces; in Delhi 23% experienced mistreatment: survey
The report based on interviews of 4,615 elderly persons across 19 cities to understand in-depth how senior citizens are treated in public space, to mark ‘World Elder Abuse Awareness Day’, was released on Wednesday.delhi Updated: Jun 14, 2017 23:21 IST
Forty-four percent of India’s elderly have been abused in public spaces at some time or the other, a survey has found.
In Delhi, 23% elderly experienced abuse and mistreatment by society due to their age, the HelpAge India study says. Bangalore topped the list with 70% elders experiencing abuse, followed by Hyderabad, Guwahati, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai.
The report based on interviews of 4,615 elderly persons across 19 cities to understand in-depth how senior citizens are treated in public space, to mark ‘World Elder Abuse Awareness Day’, was released on Wednesday.
The figures show that while 44% senior citizens have been abused in public space, 64% said it was easy for people to get away with being rude to the elderly.
The research covered four main areas, including actual experiences of elders as they interact with people and service providers, perceptions on ill-treatment, the general state of mind of the elderly as they step out of their homes and a wish list of their expectations from society.
A large percentage of the Indian society treats elders well but many elders feel today’s youngsters are callous and impatient.
According to the report, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar and Chennai in most parameters are among the top five cities that mistreat elders in public spaces.
“Previous elder abuse surveys show that 50% of India’s elderly are abused at home either because of lust for property, perceived financial or emotional burden on the care giver. The survey revealed that there is a vast majority of people in society who behave well with elders. But still nearly 1 out of 2 elders are mistreated, a significant number,” the report said.
As far as public transportation is concerned, 2 in 3 of those who take the public bus reported that they are offered seats regularly. But a significant 16% elders have experienced rudeness by bus conductors and drivers.
The report mentions that the national capital is the highest when it comes to bad behaviour by hospital staff towards elders with 26%, followed by Bangalore with 22%.
It was inferred that 53% of elders find the behaviour of motorists and bikers a challenge. While in Delhi, 45% elders feel unsafe with the behaviour of motorists on the road, Bangalore ranks the highest with 73%.
Nationally, 38% fear accident due to negligence of others. To cope with these challenges on the road, 42% of elders avoid stepping out as far as possible.
The charity is currently running a campaign to ‘Stop Ageism’ across the nation, which is aimed at sensitising people and making them aware of their own treatment towards elders.
“People sometimes assume just because a person is elder, they won’t be able to deal with technology, smart phones, internet, so many a time they just brush them aside and get irritated with them. They assume because a person is older he or she can’t hear, so they shout at them, get impatient. Many think, that elders should now only concentrate on religious activities and travel only to religious places. Why this mindset?,” Sonali Sharma, Director – Communications, HelpAge India said.
She added, “The idea of this campaign to ‘Stop Ageism’ is to go deeper into the human psyche and make people aware and conscious of their attitude towards elders. No elder likes being called ‘Old’. For them they are just a few years ahead of us, after all we all are going to get there.”