Survey finds majority of elderly harassed by family members

New Delhi, Jun 13 (PTI) More than two-thirds of the 5,000 elderly people who took part in a survey conducted by an NGO said they face harassment, humiliation and mistreatment at the hands of their family members including children.
    The survey was conducted during the first week of June through Agewell Foundation’s nationwide network of volunteers, and the report was released on Tuesday, two days ahead of the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15.
    Agewell Foundation said they surveyed 5,000 older people on the status of elder abuse and awareness about their rights in India.
     According to the report, more than two-thirds of those surveyed told they were being harassed, mistreated or humiliated by their family members, children, relatives, or others.
    Most old people (approximately 77 per cent of the respondents) are not aware of their human rights and do not protest when they start getting abused, the report said, adding gradually elder abuse becomes a pattern.
     Old people, who depend on others for their needs in old age, are more prone to face elder abuse, the report said.
    It has also been observed that one of the most common reasons for rampant elder abuse is the old person's fear of losing family members or support.
     They fear that if they talk about mistreatment or harassment and report it, it will result in tension and stress in their life, it said.
     "Old people are afraid of loneliness, isolation, and marginalization in old age and prefer to compromise and face elder abuse. Most of them ignore elder abuse for the sake of the well-being of their family members," the report said.
    During this exercise, older women were found to be more prone to suffer elder abuse as they are comparatively more dependent on others for their needs, particularly financial and psychological needs, the report said.
     Speaking on the occasion, Himanshu Rath, founder chairman, Agewell Foundation said, with ever-increasing elderly population, the growing popularity of nuclear families and widening intergenerational gaps, elder abuse has become a common phenomenon for most older people.
     "We celebrate the occasion every year but do nothing for sensitizing the people about the human rights of older persons on the ground. Time has come, when all concerned stakeholders should join hands and focus on the issue for a better tomorrow for all," Rath said.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)