Almost half of elderly people across India have been abused in public, study finds
Mumbai city news: The survey revealed that sons and daughters-in-law are the most common perpetrators of abuse against senior citizensmumbai Updated: Jun 15, 2017 09:43 IST
More than half (53%) of elderly people across India believe they are discriminated against because of their age, while almost half (44%) said they have been abused in public, revealed a survey conducted by HelpAge India to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15.
The survey, titled ‘How India treats its Elderly’, also revealed that sons and daughters-in-law are the most common perpetrators of abuse against senior citizens.
This was the fifth such survey published by HelpAge India, a charity that works for the causes of elderly people. It involved interviews with 4,615 elderly people in 19 cities, including four tier-II and four tier-III cities.
Pramod Borgaonkar, director of HelpAge India, said, “Abuse of the elderly has increased since we began conducting this survey in 2012. Earlier, only one of five seniors reported that they faced abuse. But now, one in two does so. But the proportion of elderly people who didn’t speak out against mistreatment fell from 98% in 2012 to 50% in 2014.”
Borgaonkar said most elderly people continue to name their sons and daughters-in-law as their primary abusers. “Abuse comes in many forms, physical and mental, such as excluding an elderly relative from family discussions, refusing to feed them, or pressuring them to hand over their house or other possessions,” said Borgaonkar.
n the 2015 survey, one-third of respondents admitted they had been abused by a relative. About 35% perceived their daughter-in-law as their primary abuser. Of those who had faced abuse, this number was about 50%.
Randeep Chopra, a senior citizen who volunteers at HelpAge, said that the elderly can sometimes “invite trouble” by giving away their wealth and property to their children without any security. He said that the government should give the elderly reverse mortgage loans – a type of loan that requires people to mortgage their homes and doesn’t require any monthly payments.
The Maharashtra government had come up with a policy for senior citizens in 2013. Among other things, it recommended separate windows for the elderly in hospitals and other public buildings; old-age homes in every district; and a health insurance plan for senior citizens. But Borgaonkar said the policy remained on paper as the state was yet to issue a government resolution or budget for it. Similarly, an executive committee formed to address the concerns of senior citizens is yet to have its first meeting.