Chandigarh, June 14 - HelpAge India releases a nationwide report on ‘Elder Abuse in India 2018 – Changing Cultural Ethos & Impact of Technology’ on the eve of UN recognized ‘World Elder Abuse Awareness Day’. It was released by of Sh. Krishan Kumar Bedi, Hon’ble Minister Social Justice and Empowerment, Haryana.

            The 23 city report by HelpAge India, across Tier 1 & Tier 2 cities, had 5014 respondents across SEC B, C & D. It aimed at understanding the extent, depth, form, frequency and reasons behind Elder Abuse. For the first time the Impact of Social Media & Technology vis a vis Elder Abuse was studied, which brought out some startling insights.

 Nearly one-fourth (25%) elders experienced abuse personally. The main abusers were Son (52%) and Daughter-in-law (34%).

            The most common form of abuse they experienced was Disrespect (56%), Verbal Abuse (49%) and Neglect (33%). Economic Exploitation was 22% and Beating & Slapping was a disturbing 12%.

 Similarly the survey was also conducted at Faridabad, Haryana and the main findings are:

  • 62% Elders agree that elder abuse is prevalent in society
  • 27% elderly confirmed that they have faced elder abuse for almost 3 years
  • Wherein 63% confirmed verbal Abuse is the highest followed by 55% being the disrespect, 42% Neglect and 28% are Economic Exploitation.
  • The main perpetrators who abuse Elders are Son (42%) and Daughter in law at 47%
  • Elders opined that they are mainly abused as their children think them as burden due to old age related issues and do not like their way of living. Also children lack resources to meet their financial needs.

“Each year we try to get a better understanding of the existence of this heinous crime against our elderly and create awareness about the issue. Unfortunately, Elder Abuse starts at home and from whom they trust the most. This year the Son has turned out to be the foremost perpetrator of Elder Abuse, followed by the daughter-in-law who normally is perceived as the primary abuser as per past surveys. We run a toll-free Elder Helpline No. 1800-180-1253 for such elders in need, so they can reach out to us for help, often young good Samaritans call us wanting help an elder they see in need of help and protection”, says Mathew Cherian, CEO, HelpAge India.

“We also looked into the Impact of Technology vis a vis Elder Abuse. While technology in itself is good and progressive, it also has adverse impacts in the lives of our elderly. The findings were an eye-opener, with nearly 65% elderly stating that extreme attention given to phones/ computers is disrespectful. We are therefore running a campaign across the country called #Disconnect2Connect, urging young adults to Disconnect from their mobile & computer devices even for a little while and connect with the older person living in the same house. To look up and acknowledge their presence, for it is extremely hurtful for the elderly, as they are unable to cope with this fact paced technology and feel isolated,” says Cherian.

 The top 5 cities which had a high percentage of Elder Abuse were - Mangalore (47%), Ahmedabad (46%), Bhopal (39%), Amritsar (35%) and Delhi (33%).

Unfortunately, 82% of those abused, did not report the matter. The key reasons for Not Reporting - were to “maintain confidentiality (52%) of family matter” or “did not know how to deal with problem (34%)” suggesting lack of awareness.

 

73% elders felt that ‘their adult children are too busy on the phone even when at home with them.’ 78% elders agreed that Social Media had decreased their families personal time spent with them.

More than 50% of the Abusers were Skilled Workers & Working Professionals. Their mean age was 42 years, which is the young adult.

            The most effective ways to deal with Elder Abuse as per elders was – ‘Sensitize children & strengthen inter-generational bonding’ (38%), ‘Increase Economic Independence of the abused’ (37%) and ‘Sensitize   Adults’ (35%), while 25% elders suggested the need to develop a more effective response  & redressal system.

 “As mentioned above, 38% elders feel the most effective way to deal with Elder Abuse is to ‘sensitize children & strengthen inter-generational bonding, HelpAge in fact runs an active ‘Student Action for Value Education’ (SAVE) program with this very aim to inculcate the values of love, care and respect in children and young adolescents towards elders, so they are sensitized at an early age and don’t turn into Abusers in their later years. Another way of tackling this increasing generation gap between the young & the old, is bridging this technology gap and empowering our elders, we at HelpAge therefore run free Digital Literacy Workshops for elders so they can keep up with this fast paced changing technology.” says Rohit Prasad, Chief Operating Officer, HelpAge India.