New Delhi: Violations of human rights of the elderly are rampant in India and more than 85.9% of the elderly have never heard about human rights of older persons, revealed a study carried out by Agewell Foundation, an NGO.

The study, on human rights of older persons in India, found that over 23.3% elderly were living in inhuman conditions and facing violations of human rights and around 12.9% older persons revealed they were not getting proper food.

“Approximately, every third elderly in the country is not getting proper medicine/health care in old age. Every second older person is not getting due respect or good treatment from his/her family member/society. 47.4% older persons were discriminated because of their Age, they accepted that due to their age they were humiliated occasionally or treated disrespectfully," the study done in November 2017 found.

Analysis of compiled data revealed that cases of violations of human rights of the elderly population are on the rise. The popularity of the small or nuclear family system, lack of intergenerational interaction, less social interaction of older persons, age discrimination, non-existence of an inclusive social security system in the country, etc. are among the most important reasons for the miserable condition of older persons.

Over 75.5% of older persons were reportedly living in good conditions but living alone, according to the study.

The study found that violation of human rights of older persons is higher in urban areas in comparison to rural areas. 65% older persons living in urban areas in comparison to 57% rural elderly reported that they had to go through a critical phase or live in abject situations due to violations of their basic human rights, the study stated.

“Due to lack of awareness about Human Rights of older persons, particularly among elderly community, old people face increased incidences of age discrimination, ageism, elder abuse and mistreatment. Creating awareness of human rights of older persons in the society and the protection of their human rights has become an uphill task for all of us. The rights of an individual in old age are considered as more of a moral responsibility of the family member," said Himanshu Rath, chairman, Agewell Foundation.

“In the fast changing circumstances when the number of old people in every society is increasing at a very fast pace we need to inculcate a sense of responsibility towards needs and rights of older persons through various media like curriculum of School students, inter-generational interventions, review at all the policy formulations and its implementation with a practical approach towards needs and rights of old people," he said.

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