As the world observed “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day” this Saturday, HelpAge India released its annual report on elder abuse. The report which is titled, ‘Elder Abuse in India: Role of Family in Caregiving: Challenges & Responses’ was released at Rotary Bhawan followed by an in-depth panel discussion. HelpAge India, the organization dedicated towards the welfare of the elderly, also launched an app called SOS (Save Our Seniors). This is a nationwide emergency helpline for elders.

Interestingly, the share of a daughter-in-law was the highest in providing physical care to elderly people. 68% daughters-in-law help elders with their everyday activities.

Key Findings:

  • In the next couple of decades, the population of persons aged 60+ will increase by 354% and 80+ will increase by 500%, which will surpass the population of children below 14 years, as compared to the overall Indian population, which will increase only by 40%.
  • The study that was conducted in May 2019 covered 3,000 people in 20 cities across India, focuses on the sandwich generation aged 30–50 years, covering tier 1 and 2 cities. The age group 30-50 was taken because at this age, people have to take care of both their children and their parents.
  • Interestingly, the share of a daughter-in-law was the highest in providing physical care. 68% daughters-in-law help elders with activities such as using the telephone, shopping, preparing meals, housekeeping, washing clothes, transportation, taking medicine, as compared to sons, whose share came out to be at 51%.
  • 15% of caregivers felt that the burden of serving the elders was severe, whereas, 29% of them felt that the burden was moderate to severe. At least 35 percent of caregivers never felt happy looking after the elderly.
  • Up to 62% sons, 26% daughters-in-law and 23% daughters bear the financial burden of their parents. On an average, Rs 4125 is spent monthly in looking after an elderly.
  • 7% of caregivers felt fatigued which resulted in aggressive behavior towards the elderly.

In the next couple of decades, the population of persons aged 60+ will increase by 354% and 80+ will increase by 500%.

“What is amazing is that despite the abuse elders might face at home, at the hands of their adult children, they choose to remain within the family ambit. Their solution is always sensitizing their children, their primary caregivers, and not move away from the family. It is therefore important to look into space of the caregiver to understand the burden of elder care and the challenges faced by them,” Mathew Cherian, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) HelpAge India, told Livemint.

“Old Age is an inevitable part of our life. We all will become old one day. We will be better prepared for our old age if we interact with elderly and understand their problems. At the same time there is an urgent need to create greater awareness in the society about needs and rights of older persons,” said Himanshu Rath, Chairman, Agewell Foundation, another NGO working towards elder welfare. “It has been noticed that in old age, people with poor health conditions, medical complications, psychological issues, etc have to suffer more due to their helplessness. Lack of awareness about their Human Rights is another major factor responsible for elder abuse,” he added.

Picture credits: UEA

Read More: Children Who Abandon Parents In Old-Age To Be Jailed In Bihar

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