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Elderly abuse a growing concern in India, shows LASI

Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Elderly abuse a growing concern in India, shows LASI:


Context:

Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (LASI) is a national survey of scientific investigation of the health, economic, and social determinants and consequences of population aging in India. The report was recently released.

Key findings:

  1. At least five per cent of India’s elderly population (aged 60 years and above) stated they experienced ill-treatment in 2020.
  2. Bihar records highest share of elderly persons ill treated in India.
  3. Among the elderly who felt ill-treated, 77.3 per cent complained of verbal / emotional ill-treatment that can harm their self-worth or emotional well-being.
  4. The emotional harm that may emerge from verbal or emotional abuse encompasses torture, sorrow, fear, perverse emotional discomfort, loss of personal pride or sovereignty.
  5. Among those who reported as experiencing ill-treatment, the victims of physical ill-treatment were the highest in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh.
  6. Elderly respondents experiencing verbal / emotional ill-treatment was the highest in the states of Uttarakhand.

What is elderly abuse? What are the reasons for it?

Abuse of the elderly is a growing international problem with several manifestations in different countries and cultures. It is a fundamental violation of human rights and leads to several health and emotional problems.

The abuse can classified as physical, sexual, psychological or financial.

  • The ill-treatment is relatively more frequent among elderly women and those living in rural areas, according to the report.
  • A lot of women lose support as they lose their partners to old age. This group of people generally has no income source or economic activity.

What needs to be done?

The obstacle of elder abuse cannot be adequately solved if older people’s essential needs for food, shelter, protection and access to healthcare are not met.

  1. Good quality health care be made available and accessible to the elderly in an age-sensitive manner.
  2. Rehabilitation, community or home based disability support and end-of-life care should also be provided where needed, in a holistic manner, to effectively address the issue to failing health among the elderly.
  3. Those who are unable to generate an adequate income should be facilitated to do so.
  4. The best way to address neglect of the elderly is to counsel families, sensitise community leaders and address the issue at all levels in different forums, including the print and audio-visual media.

Sources: Down to Earth.