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January 22, 2014

Elderly In villages suffer More Abuse (INDIA)

Elderly in villages suffer more abuse
Swati Shinde Gole, TNN
Jan 20, 2014

PUNE: Abuse is one of the most common problems faced by the elderly (60+ years) in the state, says a study done by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and the United Nations Population Fund.
The survey, conducted on a sample of 1,435 elderly men and women above 60 years of age, concluded that the number is higher in rural areas when compared with cities and towns. The elderly were subjected to different kinds of abuse including physical, verbal, economic, disrespect and neglect.
A similar study was conducted by the two groups in six other states namely Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Odisha and West Bengal.
The study was conducted in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Odisha and West Bengal, which are the most populated states for elderly in the country. While the reports of Punjab and Kerala were released in December, the Maharashtra report was released on January 16 in Mumbai at TISS.
One of the findings of the report that worried most experts was that the prevalence of elderly abuse in Maharashtra is triple that of pooled estimate of the elderly surveyed in the six other states.
The report also suggests that the prevalence of abuse was relatively higher among older elderly (80+) and those with low education and poor economic status.
S Siva Raju, dean of School of Development Studies, TISS, who was part of the study, said, "Sensitization of families and persons from other age groups (in schools/colleges) in order to prevent discrimination and abuse of the elderly is necessary. There is also a need to encourage the identification of elderly found to be facing abuse and plan interventions to handle such situations."
The study aims to give an outline of socio-economic and health status of the elderly in the state. It also provides an idea about the extent of their interaction and their status within the family and the society. The collaborating institutes would be using this evidence-based knowledge to work with elderly in the seven states.
Frederika Meijer, country representative of UNFPA said, "The statistics on elder abuse are worrisome for the state. An immediate solution could be to make sure the youth are educated about respecting the elders and that a constant contact between the youth and the elderly is created through events."
While verbal abuse was the most common, the perpetrators were either family members or outsiders. Women were more likely to face abuse meted out by the family and face more disrespect and neglect from outsiders.
G Giridhar, another UNFPA representative and a member of the study team, said, "The situation of elderly in India is so bad that living longer is adding to more problems. If youngsters are at a risk of dying, the older are at a risk of living. In order to eradicate abuse of the elderly, there is a need to create positive image of elderly through active involvement of political leaders, NGOs, community events and bringing generations together."
Sujaya Krishnan, joint secretary of the Union Ministry of Health Family Welfare, who was present during the release of the report, said, "Special attention would be given to issues of women that have been highlighted in this report. The issues that have been raised of the elderly will also be looked into and appropriate steps would be taken to aid this vulnerable population."

SOURCE:    Times of India

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