90% older persons abused by family members - Agewell

On the occasion of  World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Announced by UN

Indian society is the only society, where people bless their dear ones with blessings like “live for 100 years”, ”May god add my years to your life”, “May god bless you with 100 years of health and happiness”, etc. In India Old Age is a great Celebration in itself. Even today the concept of Elder Abuse is difficult to comprehend in Indian circumstances. But unfortunately it has become an ugly fact of life even in our society.

Elder abuse, the mistreatment and torture of older people, a manifestation of the timeless phenomenon of inter-personal violence is prevalent in Indian families too. This is an extremely sorry state of affairs. Imagine, being mistreated, verbally abused, and denied proper food, proper medication and care by younger members of family. Older people are indeed in a very helpless situation with eroding social value system in India.

On the occasion of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Agewell Foundation an NGO, managing Helpline to assist older persons across 540 districts of India, has analyzed the kinds of problems and mistreatments older persons have to face now a days.

  • 90% cases of elder abuse abusers were young members of their families.
  • However, in almost half of the cases (51%) older persons don’t even know whether they are abuses or mistreated. In other words, they have become habitual of mistreatment, harassment and even torture in their old age.
  • 3/4th older persons (74.5%) found emotionally or psychologically abused whereas 19% older persons are found physically abused. Physical elder abuse is non-accidental use of force against an elderly person that results in physical pain, injury, or impairment.

Older persons are emotionally abused by Intimidation through yelling or threats, humiliation and ridicule, habitual blaming or scapegoat, ignoring the elderly person, isolating an elder from friends or activities, terrorizing or menacing the elderly person, etc. Ignoring health conditions of elderly, financial exploitation of elderly, sexual abuse are found other major forms of elderly abuse.

Major Consequences of elder abuse are as frequent arguments or tension between the caregiver and the elderly person & also changes in personality or behavior in the elderly person.

How to prevent Senior Citizens from Domestic Mistreatment

Tips for older people

  • Stay sociable as you age; maintain and increase your network of friends and acquaintances.
  • Keep in contact with old friends and neighbors if you move in with a relative or change to a new address.
  • Ask friends to visit you at home; even a brief visit insures observation of your well-being.
  • Accept new opportunities for activities. They can bring new friends.
  • Participate in community activities as long as you are able.
  • Avoid interference in the lives of younger family members.
  • Do not complain or instruct unnecessarily.
  • Don't sign a document unless someone you trust has reviewed it.

Tips for Families

  • Be respectful and caring towards old people.
  • Maintain close ties with aging relatives and friends. Keep abreast of changes in their health and ability to live independently.
  • Discuss an older relative's wishes regarding health care, in the case of incapacitation and disposition of his/her personal assets.
  • Find sources of help and use them.
  • Sensitize children about needs of old age and let them interact with old people as much as possible.

Contact Agewell Foundation for any guidance or support. Ph.: 011-29836486/ 29840484, Website: www.agewellfoundation.org

Never forget, one day you too would be old.


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