Bengaluru

For many elders, all’s not well at home

Cases of elder abuse rise; property and maintenance issues most common reasons

Abused by their own children, harassed sometimes even by their domestic help, senior citizens in the city seem to be increasingly becoming victims of harassment. In 2015-16, Elders’ Helpline, run by the city police along with Nightingales Medical Trust, received 188 such complaints — the most since the helpline was started in 2002.

Between 2010 and 2013, the helpline, which tallies the complaints according to the financial year, used to get 62 to 83 complaints annually. In 2014-15, there were 151 complaints.

Property and maintenance issues were the primary causes for harassment, said Radha S. Murthy, managing trustee of Nightingales Medical Trust.

No arrests

Though ‘harassment’ also involves physical abuse, counsellors with the helpline admitted that no arrests have been made. The police and the helpline staff usually settle the matter through counselling. In fact, getting a senior citizen to complain against his or her family is a task in itself, they said.

“To ensure that the families do not harass them again after the issue is resolved, we don’t close the case immediately. We follow up with them and ensure that they are treated well,” a counsellor said.

The only positive indication from the rise in number of complaints is that the hesitation to complain has come down, said Dr. Murthy.

Apart from complaints about harassment by family members, the helpline also gets calls about other issues (see box). The staff said there was a time when they would get 600 to 800 calls a month. “We used to be surprised if the number reached 1,000. Now, we regularly get 1,500 calls every month, sometimes even 2,000,” one staffer told The Hindu.

2011-2012

2012-2013

2013-2014

2014-2015

2015-2016

Calls

7,814

8,851

10,634

17,378

15,932

Complaints registered

219

256

371

396

393

Complaints resolved

138

183

215

261

272

Elders seeking information

2,313

2,663

2,203

7,661

6,399

Calls pertaining to written plaints

1,277

2,117

3,338

4,288

6,252

Cases closed

73

265

82

91

99

(All data from April to March)

Common grievances

2011-2012

2012-2013

2013-2014

2014-2015

2015-2016

Harassed /cheated by family members

68

83

168

151

188

Harassed /cheated by agencies

73

75

102

32

14

Harassed/cheated by individuals

31

26

44

64

42

Gone missing

9

14

14

11

8

Complaints against old age homes

1

0

0

2

0

Others

34

53

55

0

0

(All data from April to March)

(Source: Elders’ Helpline)

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 8:40:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/for-many-elders-alls-not-well-at-home/article8517002.ece

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