‘Ageing in the Twenty First Century:A Celebration and A challenge’ a Study by The UN reports.
” 9 out of Ten in the world are over 60
43% of the people surveyed reported that they fear a personal violence,
67% Face Age Discrimination“
What are the Abuses?
Being subjected to indifference.
Loss of Respect.
Made to work.
Deprivation of possessions.
Discrimination in serving Food.
These are apart from physical violence.
The last one , sadly, is inflicted by sons!
The same elders who taught you to speak become people ‘ who do not now what to Talk’
The ones who taught you to behave ‘do not know how to behave’
The same parents who forced you to read/study are now ‘people who ‘know nothing’
The Elderly have two choices.
Stay with their children.
In the former, they are subjected to all the harassment listed above.
In the later case, they are dubbed as being selfish and not caring enough to take of the Family especially the Grand children!
In the family, Elders do not know how to take care of the Grand children-the same idiots who brought you up.
If one offers advice one is advised none too politely ‘to shut up’
If remained aloof termed as ‘being irresponsible!’
If this is the case in India, Japan , the Country which has a Culture of respecting the Elders has decayed to such an extent that a
Minister publicly says ‘Hurry and die quickly!’
India, the cradle of Family solidity and Values has come down very badly in its treatment of elders.
Home was not a house where people make money, sleep and procreate.
It was a place of harmony,human bonding,emotional cushioning..
Elders have limited option in India.
With all the abuses suffered, they choose to remain in children s’ Homes for, they love their children,Grand children aand they do not want the ignominy of the famiy lbeing seen as the one which has lost its values.
What can one say to children?
The Seed will also beget seeds to beget Trees.
Some facts from two studies.
“Indian sons, and their wives, aren’t treating their aged parents well. A study on abuse of India’s elderly, conducted across 20 cities and involving over 5,500 older people, has found that almost 1 in 3 (32%) have faced abuse. The son has been found to be the primary abuser in 56% of cases, followed by the daughter-in-law in 23% cases.
more than 50% of those abused had faced it for more than five years. More than half (55%) of those who were abused did not report it to anyone. Around 80% of them did not report the matter to uphold family honour.
Delhi actually witnessed an exponential increase in abuse of the elderly. In 2011, Delhi’s abuse of the elderly rate stood at 12%. In comparison, 29.82% elderly people in Delhi said they faced abuse in 2012.
The study, conducted by Help Age India, found that abuse was highest in Madhya Pradesh (77.12%) while people in Rajasthan (1.67%) were most well behaved with the elderly in their family. Nearly 30% or 1 in 3 elderly persons reported abuse in Maharashtra while the abuse rate was just above 1 in 4 (27.56%) in Tamil Nadu. It was 60% in Assam, 52% in UP, 43% in Gujarat, 42.86% in Andhra Pradesh and 40.93% in West Bengal.
The study also brought out some shameful figures for Delhi. While nearly 30% of Delhi’s senior citizens had faced abuse, the primary perpetrator of abuse was the son in 60% cases, followed by the daughter-in-law in 24% cases. In Delhi, 76% of those abused did not report it, while of those who felt abused, 69% had felt disrespected with 35% facing it daily.
Around 86% of elderly felt that the most effective measure to control elder abuse was through sensitizing children and strengthening inter-generation bonding and 14% felt increased economic Independence was the solution.
The study said that in India, the family has been the mainstay of social support. “Even in this age and time, 58% of older persons in India are living with the family. The findings of this report also affirm confidence in the ability of the family to care for its older members,” the report said.
Discussions with male groups indicated that the middle income group listed
“economic” problems on priority. The second male group from the upper
middle class prioritised “mental health problems” focusing more on lack of
work, lack of facilities for utilisation of leisure time and a general feeling of
loneliness “talking to walls”. The problem here did not seem to be lack of
money but lack of time by the “others” for the older persons
Second to economic problem came ”lack of emotional support” from family
members and both the groups felt that they felt a need to talk to their family
who did not seem to have time for them The Words were many – ranging from
“neglect” from family, “experience of loneliness in everything”, “a sense of
insecurity” and feeling of “burden”, and “Old Age itself was a disease”
A glaring problem faced by the males group was older couple being asked to
live separately when they had more than one child i.e. the older woman to
stay with one child and the man to stay with another – according to the
convenience of their support in whatever housework /outside work they could
Health problems however took a back seat coming in at the third position and
linked with lack of mobility and economic problems
Lack of accommodation was also a “problem” identified by the older persons
who had houses of their own and were not staying in apartments, where there
is only a specified area.