About 73 % of the elderly population experienced increased abuse during the lockdown imposed amid the second wave of COVID-19, according to a new report.
The report by the Agewell Foundation, based on responses from 5,000 elderly, released ahead of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day said 82 % of the respondents claimed that their life has been affected adversely due to the current COVID-19 situation.
The report found that 73 % of the respondents reportedly said cases of abuse against them increased during and after the lockdown period, and among them 61 % claimed that interpersonal relationships was the main factor responsible for fast increasing incidences of elder abuse in families.
During the survey, it was found that 65 % elderly respondents were facing neglect in their life while approximately 58 % of the respondents said they are suffering abuse in their families and society.
The report also found that approximately every third elderly (35.1 %) claimed that older people face domestic violence (physical or verbal) in old age. Himanshu Rath, Chairman, Agewell Foundation said though the COVID-19 situation and related lockdown rules and restrictions have affected almost every human being, older persons are the most vulnerable so far as the coronavirus threat and its impact is concerned.
“There is an urgent need to sensitize the entire community about the growing incidences of elder abuse. Older persons also need to be educated about support systems, legal provisions and non-formal support network, accessible and available to them,” he said.
The report said most elderly have to depend on family care, which makes them vulnerable and incidences of elder abuse, mistreatment, and harassment of elderly occur primarily within their respective families are on rise due to vulnerability of older people.
Elderly women are worst affected due to their poor financial status, increased level of dependency, and even due to longer lifespan comparatively to elderly men.
Elderly hardly report incidences of abuse to concerned stakeholders due to various factors like lack of awareness about their rights, poor physical health and lack of social support system, the report said.