Abuse, maintenance interventions by Elder Line go up

The toll-free national helpline for the elderly completes one year on October 31

Updated - October 29, 2022 07:39 pm IST

Published - October 29, 2022 07:35 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Interventions in the area of abuse by Elder Line, a toll-free national helpline (14567) for the elderly that is run by the Social Justice Department in the State, have risen from 9.53% in the 2021-22 financial year (October 1, 2021, to March 1, 2022) to 20.14% this financial year (till September 30).

The Elder Line Kerala was formally launched on November 1 last year after a dry run lasting a month. Its interventions related to maintenance (under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007) went up from 3.38% to 7.14%, while those in the category of old-age homes (enquiries and rehabilitation) rose from 2.94% to 7.64%.

The helpline received 32,164 calls from October 1 last year to September 30 this year. It received 19,449 calls in the 2021-22 financial year and 12,715 calls till September 30 this year.

The maximum number of callers was from Thiruvananthapuram district—3,474. Ernakulam and Kollam districts followed with 2,387 and 1,902 callers, respectively. The least number of callers was from Wayanad—241. The maximum number of callers was in the 66-74 age group—1,891 (46.7%) in 2021-22 and 599 in 2022-23 (42.79%).

While the helpline is intended for senior citizens, it intervenes even if callers are 55 and above. The number of callers in this age bracket was 1,114 in 2021-22 (27.51%) and 399 in 2022-23 (24.21%). Calls have even been made by the aged who are above the age of 105.

Of these callers, the number of male callers exceeded women. It was 3,555 men and 1,895 women. The total number of actionable calls was 7,086, while the non-actionable calls came to 32,245.

In 2021-22, the total number of first-time resolutions (FTRs)—where call officers addressed issues such as giving information on old-age homes, pension status, or legal support—was 2,339, while service requests for intervention of the seven field response officers for 14 districts came to 1,711. In the 2022-23 financial year, the FTRs numbered 675, while the service requests to the field came to 725.

In 2021-22, pension comprised the biggest intervention area (21.98%), but had dropped to 13.5% in 2022-23. Legal interventions remained more or less stable (5.58% and 4.43%, respectively), while that in the area of emotional support saw a slight increase from 2.32% to 3.21%. Elderly rescues went up from 1.26% to 2.07%.

P.M. Sreeja, programme manager, Elder Line Kerala, says calls made by the elderly may pertain to a specific issue such as pension, but when the call officers engage with them at length, many other problems come to light. These related mostly to differences between them and their children, which in financially backward families often took the form of physical and verbal abuse. Differences also arose on the issue of property.

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