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May 17, 2012

Pensioner Paradise Bangalore Turns a Hell Hole (INDIA)

May 11, 2012
By Subir Ghosh

It’s more than an irony. It’s, in fact, tragic that the city once known as a pensioner’s paradise today ranks first when it comes to abuse of the elderly.
A recent study on the state of the elderly in nine cities conducted by HelpAge India found that abuses are reported the highest in Bangalore (44%), compared to the national average of 22%. The other eight cities in the survey were Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bhopal, Chennai, Patna and Hyderabad.
Though 84% of the elderly surveyed in Bangalore are married (against a national average of 60.3%), 68% live with their son(s) and 18% with their daughters. The national figures are 71.6 and 12.5% respectively.
Close to half (45%) of the senior citizens are classified as ‘unskilled workers’ and 26% ‘skilled’. Another 22% are homemakers. Only 21% remain involved in any kind of economic activity.
Remittances from children is the main source of income for most (34%) against a national average of 54.6%. Pension comes in next with 33%. Compared to other cities, people living on pensions as against remittances from their children still remains on the higher side. That’s where the ‘pensioners’ paradise’ sobriquet ends. An overwhelming proportion (68%) live in rented accommodations against a national average of only 29.8%).
HelpAge asked elders about their understanding of elder abuse. The category that came on top was ‘showing disrespect’, followed by ‘physical abuse’ and ‘emotional abuse’.
And, whatever the perception of abuse, it is worsening. Three of every four elderly felt that abuses had gone up in the previous three years.
Bangalore also tops in ‘emotional abuse’ being reported as the worst form of abuse they encounter – a full hundred%.
The national average is only a paltry 25.8%. One of the reasons for this seemingly anomalous figure, a HelpAge official said, is that the reporting of cases is probably higher in Bangalore than elsewhere. Nine out of ten elderly say ‘verbal abuse’ is the second most prevalent way of abusing elders.
There’s rampant physical abuse too. Among those who experienced this, 56.2% complained of beating, and 50% of restricted movements within the house. Bangalore is also high in economic abuse. Two in three said these came in the form of illegal taking over of their property by their children. The same proportion also spoke of their personal belongings being taken away from them.
And where this abuse comes from? It – hold your breath – actually begins at home. Roughly 57% said it came from their son(s), and 20.4% attributed the trauma to both their daughters and sons-in-law.
Yet, there’s no escape. Some 77.2% ‘did not do anything’ after an abuse. Those elsewhere are better placed with an average of 53.4%. There aren’t many around to talk to either. Less than 5% discuss the problem with anyone in Bangalore. Elsewhere it is 25%.
Not that such moves pay off either. All those who complained to the police said that they had to spend a lot of money both on lawyers as well as bribes to the police, besides the situation becoming aggravated thereafter. The paradise, probably has been lost.

 SOURCE:     The Daily News and Analysis, India

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