Aditya Nandani (name changed to protect identity), faced abuse at the hands of his own son and daughter-in-law.
A retired professor and a widower, 65-year-old Nandani now stays with a servant and is fighting a case against his son for property.
Alone but not alone
Lonely he might be but Nandani is not alone in his plight. Increasingly, elders staying alone face physical or emotional abuse and worse.
Topping the list of areas in crimes against the elderly are posh south Delhi colonies, home to numerous lonely senior citizens – either abandoned by their children or left behind when the children moved out in search of greener pastures.
Of the roughly nine lakh senior citizens in Delhi, 13 per cent feel trapped within their homes. Also, 52 per cent either face harassment for property, or know someone who does, a study by HelpAge India, has found.
The emotional insecurity quotient is so high that one out of eight seniors said no one cared for their existence.
The Senior Citizen Security Cell of Delhi Police opened in 2004 with registration of approximately 4,500 citizens and the number today stands at over 8,500.
These seniors are regularly visited by beat constables. Despite this, incidents of crime against elders are increasing.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Amulya Kumar Patnaik said, “Often, criminal elements gain entry to the homes of senior citizens through someone they know.”
At times, elders themselves do not take basic precautions like installing a magic eye or door chain and not opening the door to strangers, said Patnaik.
But the best way to deal with age-related issues would be to follow the advice of President Emeritus of HelpAge India, M M Sabharwal.
“Children have forgotten what it is to love and care for the elderly. As you advance in age you become dependent, dependence becomes a burden. (so) there is a need for keeping oneself active and agile,” the octogenarian told Hindustan Times.