April 7, 2011

STUDY ON HUMAN RIGHTS OF OLDER PERSONS


HIGHLIGHTS OF THE STUDY

Agewell Research & Advocacy Centre has carried out a survey to assess the status of human rights of 50000 Older Persons (29000 rural & 21000 urban) spread across 300 districts of 25 states of India.

Major Findings of the study are as under

·         Lack of awareness about Human Rights of older persons is one of the major reasons of ever-increasing cases of voilation of human rights of older persons -85.9% older persons (including 72% in urban areas) had never heard about Human Rights of Older Persons.
·         Popularity of nuclear/small families was found to be main reason of violation of human rights of older persons -75.5% of older persons reportedly living in inhuman conditions were living alone or from small/nuclear families & 60.54% of older persons were found living alone or in nuclear/small families.
·         Voilation of Human Rights of older persons is higher in urban areas of the country in comparision to rural areas -65% older persons living in urban areas reported that they had to go through critical phase in their life or have to live in abject situations due to their old age.
·         Over 23.3% older persons were found living in inhuman conditions or (in other words) facing violation of their human rights in old age.
·         12.9% older persons revealed that they are not getting proper food in old age - 3101 rural and 3343 urban elderly are not getting proper food in old age.
·         Approx. every third older person in the country is not getting proper medicine/health care in old age -Only 68.8% have access to necessary medicines, health care and medical facilities
·         Every second older person is not getting due respect or good treatment from his/her family member/society -48.6% eldelry (44.5% in rural areas and 54.81% in urban areas) are not being respected by their family members/ relatives and soceity.
·         47.4% older persons were discriminated because of their Age - 52.35% in urban areas and 44.1% in rural areas were humiliated or treated disrespectfully.


Observation: Popularity of small/nuclear family system, lack of intergenerational interaction, less social interaction of older persons, age discrimination, non-existence of inclusive social security system in the country, etc. are among the most important reasons of miserable condition of older persons in urban areas. Older persons in the age-group of 60-70, i.e. young older people are more aggressive towards protection of their human rights. Due to fast growing population of older persons, ever-increasing gap between generations and fast demanding lifestyle of young generatoins, for majority of older persons life is still a struggle, even in Old Age. 

Study concludes that creating awareness of Human Rights of Older Persons in the society, particularly among older persons and protection of their human rights has become an uphill task for all of us. Preparation for Old Age is an alien concept. Even the policies for old people are more cosmetic than effective. Rights of an individual in old age are considered as more of a moral responsibility of the family members. No one seems to be concerned about the fact that an individual who is old has certain basic human rights. Today we need to inculcate a sense of responsibility towards needs & rights of older persons through curriculum of School students & re-look at all the policy formulations and its implementation with a practical approach towards needs & rights of old people.
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