New Delhi: The life expectancy has increased with the availability of better health facilities but the elderly are finding it hard to continue being employed due to lack of opportunities for them, according to a study.
Lack of gainful engagement opportunities was cited by most of the elderly population (22.2 per cent) as their biggest problem followed by 'declining health status' (21.24 per cent) and 'lack of respect in family/society' (18 per cent), as per the study conducted by Agewell Foundation.
According to the study, almost 2/3rd respondents (65.2 per cent) claimed that they faced neglect in old age homes while over half (54 per cent) said they faced abuse.
About 33.8 per cent said they experienced physical or verbal domestic violence at home.
The study also found that with the family size increasing and cost of living rising, the elderly are also increasingly being seen as a financial burden by their loved ones.
"Among the 54 per cent who claimed to be facing abuse, almost 90 per cent attributed it to financial reasons.
"A fourth of the elderly said the younger generation considers them a burden on the family," said Himanshu Rath of Agewell Foundation.
Ironically, while there are many schemes being run for the welfare of the elderly, only 15.2 per cent of the respondents said that some special provisions for old age healthcare exists, the others had no access to it.
Rath said the study titled 'Human Rights of Elderly in India: A Critical Reflection on Social Development' interviewed 5,000 elderly people across the country.
"Ageing is an integral part of the life-cycle but in India it has unfortunately come to be associated with declining health, loss of independence, shrinking of social roles, isolation and feeling of loneliness, economic hardship, and, worse of all, being labeled or stigmatized as a burden on the family and society," lamented Rath.
The objective of the study, he said, was to cull out the nuances of the changes people encounter as they grow old and to see how these impact their lives at an age when they are increasingly dependent upon others for their sustenance and survival.