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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

HelpAge India’s ‘Report on Elder Abuse in India” brings out some startling facts marking WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY 2010

Today, on the “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day” (which falls on June 15), HelpAge India, the nation’s premier charity working for the elderly brought out some startling facts from a study it conducted across 8 cities in India on Elder Abuse.

The methodology of the study was primarily through HelpAge India’s network of Senior Citizen Associations and individuals. Both quantitative and qualitative techniques were used. The main survey was quantitative with structured interviews among elderly men and women in the age group of 60+ years primarily among the educated middle class. A sample size of 800 (approx.) was carried out in 8 cities with 100 per city (approx.). The 8 cities were: Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bhopal, Chennai, Patna and Hyderabad.

The qualitative component included In Depth Interviews carried out with respondent * such as Legal Experts, members of Senior Citizen Associations, Police Officers, Medical Experts, Social Welfare Officer, Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Psychologists, Corporate and Individual donors.

One fifth of the elderly did not know what constitutes abuse and among those that were aware, more than one third felt elder abuse constitutes: from feeling disrespected to verbal abuse, economic abuse, neglect, emotional abuse and physical abuse. Topping the kinds of abuse faced was: 40.2% elderly felt disrespected, followed by verbal abuse (37.8%), neglect, economic abuse (28.2%), emotional abuse (25.8%) and physical abuse (14.1%).

Bhopal had the highest percentage of elderly who faced abuse (79.3 %) and Delhi came out as the good city with the lowest (15.4%). Physical abuse was the highest in Kolkata (22.8%), Hyderabad (21.7%), Mumbai (21%) & Ahmedabad (20%) in comparison to other cities.

44% elders consider Neglect as a form of abuse and of those abused, 33.7% stated that they faced neglect. Topping the reasons for Neglect stated by the elders was that family members were too preoccupied with their own lives & work.

Nearly 50% of elders live with their sons (49.5%) and of those that are financially dependent - 57% are dependent on their sons. Of those facing abuse, 53.6 % of the elderly stated, they were abused by their own son followed by a close second by their daughter-in-law (43.3%).In Delhi, Domestic help was another source with 19% elderly feeling abused by them.

The reasons for taking no action against abuser were mainly: the belief that nothing concrete will happen, second a sense of shame in the community, followed by fear of further abuse.

53.4% elderly took no action when faced with abuse and 25.5% elderly prefer to discuss it with family or community to resolve matters.

33% of those that registered a complaint against the abuser felt nothing concrete came out of it. Maximum number of the senior citizens felt that the elderly should be given protection by law enforcing agencies followed by home visits. Close to two fifth (38%) of the elderly perceive the role of police and lawyers as non supportive.

The main context of abuse was Property (35.4%) followed by Lack of Emotional Support (30.2%). The percentage of elderly who owned property was highest on Delhi (68.3%), Patna (68%) and Bhopal (62.1%). The main source of income for most elderly was their Pension (45 %) with Delhi once again topping the list with 62%.

Nearly one third each of the elderly reported facing abuse because of lack of emotional support (30%) and lack of basic necessities (29%).

A large number of elderly are unaware of existing laws to protect them, with only one third of the elderly (33%) being aware. The awareness of laws and programmes is highest in Delhi (53.8%) followed by Mumbai (44.7%) and Kolkata (40.3%). The awareness level is lowest in Bhopal (8%).

‘Having steady cash flow’, ‘making adjustments within family’ and ‘having own property to reduce economic dependency’ are the major measures suggested by the elderly to control elder abuse.

The qualitative study respondents* suggested that families need to interact with one another and maintain harmony and peaceful relationships to control elder abuse. The children and the elderly both need to make adjustments. Donors feel that civil society needs to be made more aware of the issue of elder abuse. To facilitate this, the Corporates are willing to support the cause as they believe that they are part of the society and it is their social obligation to participate in social issues.

Read the report in detail:Silver Innings - Blog for Senior Citizens: HelpAge India’s ‘Report on Elder Abuse in India” brings out some startling facts marking WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY 2010

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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