Mistreatment most common form of elderly abuse in India: study

Restrictions in social life by family members or others second common form of abuse faced by elder people, says study


Under the ‘social status in old age’ category, 47.5%, of the total respondents, said that social environment status of their families and society is respectable, while the majority (52.5%) find it not respectful. Photo: AFP
Under the ‘social status in old age’ category, 47.5%, of the total respondents, said that social environment status of their families and society is respectable, while the majority (52.5%) find it not respectful. Photo: AFP

New Delhi: With one-third of those affected putting it on top of the list, mistreatment or misbehaviour is the most common form of abuse faced by the elderly in India, according to a recent study.

The Agewell Foundation, which works for the welfare and empowerment of the elderly, said that out of 28,295 affected elderly respondents, 10,452 (36.94%) ranked mistreatment as the most common form of abuse.

As many as 6,204 affected respondents (21.78%) said restrictions in their social life by family members or others was second common form of abuse faced by them.

The survey sample included 50,000 elderly persons from 300 districts across the country. Out of the 50,000 elderly respondents, 29,693 claimed that they are self-dependent so far as financial independence is concerned.

Almost 26.51% (13,256 respondents) said that they are dependent on their family members for finances while another 14.1% (7,051) were depending on people other than their own family members.

Of the 29,693 persons who claimed to be financially independent, only 29.26% (45.85% elderly men and 8.39% elderly women) had actual control over their finances, according to the study.

A whopping 14,364 of them said they could not manage their money matters as their family members or relatives don’t allow them to. Remaining 70.74% respondents have only partial or no control over their finances.

Of the total 50,000 elderly persons interviewed during the survey, as many as 28,295 (56.6%) said that they face harassment over house or land property, even though many of them are the owners of their properties.

Under the ‘social status in old age´ category, 47.5% respondents said that social environment status of their families and society is respectable, while the majority (52.5%) find it not respectful.

The study found that 34.3% had no access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport facility and 81.03% do not find road transport facilities elderly friendly.

Overall 74.2% elderly people accepted that they are getting proper food in old age, while almost every fourth person (25.8%) is reportedly not getting proper food.

“Ironically, in India older generations are not aware of their human rights due to high prevalence of illiteracy and lack of awareness.” “...due to comparatively high physical as well as psychological vulnerability their cries for help remain within four-walls, that’s why only a few cases of violation of human rights of elderly come out,” said Himanshu Rath, founder chairman of Agewell Foundation.

Indian population has approximately tripled during the last 50 years, but the number of elderly Indians (60+) has increased more than four-fold.

The 2011 census has shown that the elderly population (60+) of India accounted for 98.3 million, which was projected to cross the 100 million mark during the same year.

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