Elder Abuse: 7 Things You Should Know About This Shocking, Under-Reported Issue

The United Nations marks 14 June every year as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

V. Kumara Swamy Updated: Jun 15, 2020 19:26:57 IST
Elder Abuse: 7 Things You Should Know About This Shocking, Under-Reported Issue Picture used for representative purposes only

According to a United Nations projection, by 2030, the population of people aged 60 years or more will increase from 1 billion to 1.4 billion, outnumbering the youth. But despite the rising numbers, their problems continue to be under-reported.

The 60s and above are often called the 'golden years', but not everyone is able to enjoy their post-retirement years in peace. It has been noticed that elder abuse, more often than not, happens within households and is perpetrated by close relatives. Elder abuse can have serious consequences. These could be in the form of physical injuries and worsening health conditions; it also results in psychological problems such as anxiety and loneliness.

Here are some shocking issues faced by elders in India and abroad:

1. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), based on available evidence, 15.7 per cent of people 60 years and older are subjected to abuse worldwide. The WHO says these figures could be higher but many cases go unreported.

2. The United Nations says that elder abuse can be witnessed in both developing and developed countries, and that 90 per cent of all abusers are family members.

3. According to a 2018 HelpAge India survey, around 25 per cent of the surveyed people said that they were victims of abuse. Furthermore, 60 per cent of those surveyed said that elder abuse was prevalent in Indian society.

4. Over a period of five years or more, the survey reveals, the most common forms of abuse that elders in India have suffered are disrespect, verbal abuse and neglect. In a majority of cases, sons and daughters-in-law were the abusers.

5. According to the organization, around 20 per cent of those who admitted to being abused were victims of extreme forms such as beating and slapping.

6. 82 per cent of the abused elders said that they didn't report it. Of these, 86 per cent wanted to “maintain the confidentiality of the family matter” or “did not know how to deal with the problem.”

7. More than 60 per cent of all elders surveyed said that the quality time their adult children and grandchildren had was cut down with the increase in the usage of phones and computers.

You can get in touch with HelpAge India for any help related to elder abuse through their helpline number: 1800-180-1253.

Sources: www.helpageindia.org and www.un.org
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