Here is a shocker! Patna ranks first in terms of physical abuse of elders in the country. This is the finding of a survey conducted in nine cities — Patna, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Bhopal, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad — by HelpAge India, a charity working for welfare of the elderly.
On June 15, observed the world over as ‘World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, HelpAge India released the report of its survey that was conducted last year. The survey revolved round problems and abuses faced by elders.
Abuse by sons was more reported in Patna (71%) followed by Bangalore (56.8%) while abuse by daughters-in-law was high everywhere, except in Bangalore.
Daughters-in-law emerged as the major abuser in 64.5% cases, followed by sons from the lower economic strata at 44%.
The report, released by Bihar State Human Rights Commission chairman justice SN Jha, also says elders, mainly women, faced constant verbal and physical abuse from their children for their dependency on them.
Verbal abuse was found to be highest in Delhi, followed by Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai and more than one-fifth of elders said they had experienced abuse with maximum such episodes in Kolkata.
Patna also had 80% elders staying with children and overall 51% were financially dependant on them. But again, awareness of law for protection of elders was the lowest in Patna, just 4% and 66% of them felt, they were soft targets for crime.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr PK Verma, said such incidents leave a deep emotional and psychological scar on senior citizens. He emphasised that old age homes, where proper medical and emotional support could be provided to them, were slowly becoming a necessity.
Planning board advisor AV Sinha said, “The elders are oblivious of organisations such as HelpAge and those who know about it, do not create awareness regarding them. It is high-time that we come out and hold campaigns and meetings for the betterment of elders.”
It was also a common feeling, that the elders were soft targets for crime. Although some were of the view that the police are fully equipped to tackle such cases, most felt that complaining only resulted in more harassment.