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In India, sons abuse elders in majority cases

About 31 percent elders, who are 60 years of age and above, in India have to face disrespect, neglect and verbal abuse from their family members.

New Delhi: About 31 percent elders, who are 60 years of age and above, in India have to face disrespect, neglect and verbal abuse from their family members, and the primary abuser are their son, a study has said.

The study conducted by HelpAge India, in 20 cities with 5,600 respondents, found that about 75 percent of the elders who were abused lived with their family and 69 percent were the owners of the house in which they were living.

The primary abuser was the son (56 percent), followed by daughter-in-law (23 percent). Thirty percent of the older women compared to 26 percent men identified son as the primary abuser, 15 percent of the older women compared to eight percent men identified daughter-in-law as the primary abuser.

More than 50 percent of those abused had faced this situation for more than five years, 33 percent for up to three years and less than one percent for more than six years. And the most common form of abuse was disrespect followed by neglect and verbal abuse.

"The 55 percent of the abused elders didn`t report to anyone, and of these, more than 80 percent didn`t report the matter just to uphold the family honour," the study says.

It also highlighted that the 20 percent of the abused elders were graduates, 19 percent had education up to primary level and 16 percent were illiterate.

The study was conducted in Hyderabad, Guwahati, Patna, Chandigarh, Delhi, Panaji, Ahmedabad, Shimla, Jammu, Bangalore, Kochi, Mumbai, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Puducherry, Jaipur, Chennai, Dehradun, Lucknow and Kolkata.

Of the 20 cities, the largest number of elderly abuse was reported from Madhya Pradesh`s capital Bhopal, where 77 percent respondent suffered abuse, followed by Guwahati with 60.55 percent, Uttar Pradesh 52 percent, Gujarat 42.97 percent, Andhra Pradesh 42.86 percent, Karnataka 37.14 percent, Jammu and Kashmir 33.5 and Chandigarh 32.71 percent.

Out of total respondents, 51 percent were women. 59 percent were in the age group of 60-69 years; 28 percent in the age group of 70-79 years and eight percent in the age group of 80 years and above.

In the age group of 60-69, there were more women than men and in other two categories there were more men than women.

The study found that the situation was almost same across all socio-economic categories.

To prevent elderly abuse, the study suggested for a nationwide programmes in schools and colleges for sensitising children and young adults towards the aged people.

Involvement of society at large will also help in preventing abuse of elders.

It also suggested that there is a need for legal frameworks, elder friendly and culturally appropriate implementation processes and agencies in order to maximise reach to the intended beneficiaries.


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