Elderly Women: The coronavirus pandemic brought massive loss of lives, the medical establishments in the country completely collapsed and it also severely affected the mental health of people. As per a report, women over the age of 60 were more vulnerable than men.
As per a report by Times of India, the Mumbai police data showed that 121 elderly people in Mumbai died by suicide in 2020. The RTI activist Jeetendra Ghadge accessed information according to which the elderly faced the worst impact of the lockdown induced by the pandemic in 2020. Female senior citizens were found to be more at risk as the suicide rates among them increased 60 % between 2019 to 2020. While there was a 21% increase in male senior citizen suicide rates.
Ghadge said that these figures are the result of the dependency of senior citizens on others. He said, “They are dependent on others for daily needs and basic living. They came under severe stress which affected their mental health.”
As per the report, Manohar Rangnekar of suicide prevention helpline, Samaritans Mumbai saw that 25% callers in 2020 were elderly folks of the city. The issues of loneliness and isolation faced by them went from bad to worse during the pandemic. Since the youth were busy making the ends meet during that time, they could not take care of the elderly hence they felt more disconnected.
In a recent survey called ‘The Silent Tormentor — Covid-19 and the elderly’ by the NGO HelpAge India, it was found that 60% of the elderly could not communicate with their family members who were working or studying from home. 40% found it difficult to see any future. Many reports of emotional and physical abuse of the elderly also surfaced during the lockdown.
A research study published by Usha Rana on National Centre for Biotechnology Information official site shows that the pandemic put the mental health of elderly at risk. The senior citizens who already suffer from melancholy face a harder blow when the country was in lockdown. The study revealed that out of the total population of older people in India, over 20% of them are feeling loneliness and desolation. The senior citizens who live along had to suffer the most as they could not even access basic necessities such as groceries and medicines.
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