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Monday, July 04, 2022

Helpless in twilight years: 2.5 % elderly suffer abuse from family in Chandigarh, shows survey

About 40 per cent of the 2.5 suffered abuse by children, especially sons, 20 per cent by the son and his spouse and 20 per cent by grandchildren.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
Updated: June 15, 2022 8:10:14 am
movement The findings revealed that even though 90 per cent (which constitutes a majority) of elderly live with their families, 5 per cent stay alone, and 5 per cent stay with spouse, 71 per cent said that they want more time with their family members. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

A recent survey in Chandigarh has revealed that about 2.5 per cent senior citizens reported to be victims of elderly abuse. It was also reveled that a majority of them faced abuse in the form of disrespect from their children, spouses of their children and grandchildren. The report has been compiled by HelpAge India.
About 40 per cent of the 2.5 suffered abuse by children, especially sons, 20 per cent by the son and his spouse and 20 per cent by grandchildren.

The report was released on account of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which is observed on June 15. As many as 200 households and 100 young adult caregivers were surveyed by the agency. A total of 200 elderly persons and 100 young adult caregivers were surveyed, which amounts to a total of 300 individuals. A total of 22 cities across the country were surveyed, Chandigarh being one of them.

About 84 per cent elders in the city agreed to the fact that elder abuse is prevalent in the society. Majority of them confirmed that disrespect (90 per cent) followed by economic exploitation (43 per cent) and neglect (42 per cent) constituted the abuse.

In response to being asked if they were aware of the redressal mechanisms, 15.5 per cent answered in the negative.

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71 per cent want more time with family

The findings revealed that even though 90 per cent (which constitutes a majority) of elderly live with their families, 5 per cent stay alone, and 5 per cent stay with spouse, 71 per cent said that they want more time with their family members. 17 per cent said that they would like to engage in indoor games, etc., with their family. This shows that a large section of the elderly feel lonely. Of those staying alone, 62 per cent said that they want family members to stay with them.

Source of income

As many as 74 per cent of elderly are dependent on pension or other, similar sources and about 40 per cent are dependent on their family members for financial support. About 10 per cent are dependent on agriculture, while 9 per cent are entrepreneurs. About 5 per cent receive regular salary and 3 per cent are dependent on government aids/ NGO assistance. 90 per cent elderly in Chandigarh reported that they have adequate income, while 97 per cent said that they are financially secure, in Chandigarh.

Use of smartphones

When surveyed about the use of smartphones, Chandigarh featured among the highest. About 65 per cent of the elderly in Chandigarh use smart phones while 4 per cent use a family member’s phone. Around 31 per cent either do not have a phone or use a feature phone.

On the use of social media, 59 per cent said they use it on the phone, while 38 per cent just browse or use it for news, etc., and 32 per cent only use the camera of the smartphone. 87 per cent also said they should be given training on how to use social media.

Study design

The study, it was said, was cross-sectional as the data were collected from elderly and caregivers at a time. Two separate tools were prepared for both groups, after a thorough secondary literature review, to capture the essence of objectives mentioned above. The elderly tool had several sections like living conditions, health and wellbeing, safety and security, elder abuse and inclusion.

Given the sensitive nature of some aspects, face to face interviews were undertaken to collect primary data by trained interviewers with Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) devices. The first aspect covered economic security, its sources, adequacy, work , et., second covered health and well-being, third being safety and security like physical security in terms of crime and fourth covered inclusion, including decision making in family, participation in social events, time spent with family members, etc.

HelpAge India has primarily worked for disadvantaged elderly for nearly four decades. It was set up in 1978.

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