60 per cent abused by daughters-in-law; 57 per cent by sons

The abuse of elderly people in India has risen drastically as per a survey conducted by HelpAge India, a non-governmental organisation which fights isolation, poverty and neglect of the elderly.

The survey conducted in 12 cities across eight States, including Madurai, indicated that 50 per cent of the elderly people surveyed experienced different forms of abuse such as verbal abuse, disrespect, physical abuse and neglect. In 2013, the per cent stood at 23.

District Collector L. Subramanian on Friday released the nationwide report on ‘Elder Abuse’ based on the findings, ahead of the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, being observed on June 15.

Fifty eight per cent of the elderly people surveyed in Madurai said they experienced physical and verbal abuse. Last year, 63 per cent of the elderly said they faced abuse. The survey indicated that 60 per cent of the elderly people were abused by their daughters-in-law and 57 per cent by their sons.

Madurai has witnessed an increase in the number of elder abuse cases reported to police. In 2013, the percentage of elderly people reporting abuse was 36, whereas this year it is 57, according to the survey.

Police mechanism was the most known redressal mechanism to the senior citizens, and only 12 per cent of those who experienced abuse were aware of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. There is no helpline for elders in Madurai.

Old-age home

According to the Collector, the district administration has submitted a proposal to the State government for establishment of an old-age home. “We have even identified a place. At Government Rajaji Hospital we have a separate ward for the elderly,” Mr. Subramanian said.

The survey identified Bengaluru as the city where the senior citizens were abused the most. Seventy five per cent of the elderly people surveyed in Bengaluru confessed to have been abused. Delhi recorded the least number of the elders facing abuse — 22 per cent.

Emotional dependence, changing ethos and economic dependence were the underlying reasons for the abuse.

District Social Welfare Officer R. Ananda Valli, manager of Mobile Medical Care Unit in HelpAge India K.V. Vijayaprakash and Project Officer of HelpAge India B. Udaya Kumar were present.

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