`Senior citizens abused more in Bhopal, Guwahati`

Bhopal and Guwahati top an ignominious list of cities where senior citizens face more abuse, a survey by an NGO claimed on Thursday.

New Delhi: Bhopal and Guwahati top an ignominious list of cities where senior citizens face more abuse, a survey by an NGO claimed on Thursday.

The national capital was placed lower in the list but the number of elderly facing abuse had gone up drastically from 12 per cent last year to almost 30 per cent this year in the metropolis, the survey conducted by HelpAge India stated.

The report was released by Lt Governor Tejender Khanna at a function here today.

The survey was conducted after interviewing 5,400 senior citizens across 20 cities.
"Bhopal was found to be leading the pack with almost 77 per cent elders stating they faced abuse, while Guwahati recorded 60.55 per cent of elder abuse," HelpAge India CEO Mathew Cherian said.

The survey found Shimla and Jaipur recorded the lowest figures of elder abuse (2.99 and 1.67 per cent respectively).

The all-India average calculated by taking all respondents into consideration came to 31.13 per cent.

"More you are increasing dependency, more you are increasing vulnerability. Depend on yourself and ask God to give you strength," Khanna said.

He also suggested the NGO should start home counselling, whereby senior citizens could request a counsellor to come and mediate between them and adults in the family.

He said a fund should be set up for setting up alarm systems in homes of senior citizens who could not afford them.

The report threw up other interesting findings like in over 60 per cent of the cases, the son was perpetrating abuse, while the daughter-in-law was responsible in 24 per cent of the cases.

More than 50 per cent of those surveyed said they had been facing abuse since more than five years and a high percentage claimed disrespect and neglect were the main forms of abuse they faced.

Only 44 per cent of those abused reported it, while the remaining chose not to as they were concerned about the "family honour".

Special Commissioner of Police, Law and Order (Delhi) pointed out the number of senior citizen murders in Delhi has steadily declined from 34 in 1995 to 15 in 2011.
He said, "The number could be made zero if citizens themselves take precautions like installing proper safety systems and employing domestic help after police verification."

Based on the findings of the report, the foundation recommended nationwide programmes should be organised in school and colleges to sensitise children and youth towards the ageing.

"A robust social security that gives the elderly opportunities for income generation would also go a long way in preventing elder abuse," Cherian said.

Meanwhile, a senior citizen, J R Gupta, submitted a memorandum to the Governor requesting his intervention in the restoration of of water and electricity supply in old-age shed in Deer Park.


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