World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Study reveals rampant abuse faced by elderly

By: Maitreyee Boruah
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Bengaluru, June 15: A study, conducted by an NGO, reveals horrifying nature of abuse faced by senior citizens in India.

As a part of the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day--observed across the world on Wednesday (June 15)--the Agewell Foundation, interacted with over 3,400 elderly people in 323 districts across India. The study, supported by the volunteers of the NGO, was conducted to understand the cause and effect of elder abuse in Indian homes and sharp focus on needs and rights of senior citizens.

World elder abuse

"It was found that 65 per cent of elderly people are poor with no source of known income. 35 per cent have money or properties, savings, investments, inheritance and or supportive children. Irrespective to their financial status most of them face abuse in one form or the other," says the study.

The United Nations observes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15 every year to create awareness on the need of taking care of elders.

Elder abuse is a global social issue which affects the health and human rights of millions of older persons around the world, and an issue which deserves the attention of the international community, says a UN report.

According to UN estimates, the global population of people aged 60 years and older is set to touch about 1.2 billion in 2025 and globally around 4 per cent to 6 per cent of elderly people have experienced some form of maltreatment at home.

Nine per cent of those surveyed said they had been physically harassed or assaulted, while 13 per cent said they were denied basic needs, another 13 per cent quoted mental torture and 20 per cent elders surveyed cited restrictions on their social life. Misbehaviour and ill-treatment were cited by 37 per cent while 8 per cent cited other forms of harassment.

World elder abuse 2

Denial of food, medicines, emotional blackmailing, threatening, shouting, abusing and beating besides more severe cases such as being tied up in case of disability are some of the various forms of abuse.

"Government must create awareness about the rights of elderly people, advocacy of old age issues at all level of governance and ensure implementation of policies pertaining to protection of interests of senior citizens. Abuse is also denial of human rights of elderly people," says Himanshu Rath, who heads the NGO which works for the welfare and empowerment of the elderly.

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