BENGALURU: A study conducted by HelpAge India has found Mangaluru to be the worst in India for elders with 47% of elders surveyed reporting abuse at home.At an all-India level, a study has found sons, daughters-in-law and the social media as the biggest villains in abusing and neglecting elders, respectively, in India. The study, titled “‘Elder Abuse in India 2018 — Changing Cultural Ethos and Impact of Technology” was released on Thursday, the eve of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It was conducted in 23 cities across India. It found that in 52% of elder abuse cases, it was the son who was the perpetrator, while in 34% cases it was the daughter-in-law who was the abuser. The most common abuses were disrespect 56%, verbal abuse 49% and neglect, the report mentioned.
At least 78% of the elders felt that social media had decreased the family’s personal time spent with them, with 73% feeling that their adult children were too busy on the phones even when at home with them, while 65% felt that extreme attention given to phones or computers was a mark of utter disrespect. The study that recorded opinions of 5,014 respondents, revealed that 25% elders experienced personal abuse.
“Elder abuse is widely present in Bengaluru with most common being emotional abuse such as neglect and signs of physical abuse,” Shiv Kumar, an advocate who is the convenor of ‘Elders Helpline’, a 19-year-old initiative by Nightingale Medical Trust and Bengaluru city police, said.
“Young people may be physically harming or throwing elders out of their homes,” said Indira Jai Prakash, former psychology professor of Bangalore University. “Under Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act (MWPSC), if a person who is capable of looking after an elder is not doing so, the concerned elder can file a complaint through tribunal. The society has to address the issue and both young and old need to be educated, and family members need to interact more often.”Rekha Murthy, state head, HelpAge India, said, “We have introduced HelpAge SOS, an application that can be used to access helpline numbers, old age homes and concessions for elderly.”