Elderly financially insecure, forced to do chores, take care of grandkids: Survey

The majority of abuse (42%) was from sons, followed by daughters-in-law (28%).
Elderly financially insecure, forced to do chores, take care of grandkids: Survey

NEW DELHI: A HelpAge India survey released on Friday revealed concerning trends among the elderly population in India. According to the survey, 61% of elders are occupied with caring for their grandchildren, while more than one-third engage in regular household tasks such as cooking and shopping.

Financial insecurity is prevalent among 65% of elders, with only 31% having access to health insurance through the government’s PMJAY scheme; a mere 3% have commercial health insurance.

The survey highlighted elder abuse as a major issue, with 7% of respondents admitting to being victims, while 5% declined to respond, a silence that spoke volumes. The majority of abuse (42%) was from sons, followed by daughters-in-law (28%).

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Furthermore, abuse was more pronounced among illiterate elders and correlated with lower income levels. Chronic diseases exacerbated their vulnerability; 94% of abused elders reported suffering from at least one non-communicable disease.

Despite these challenges, only a fraction of abused elders reported their plight to the police. The survey, titled ‘Ageing in India: Exploring Preparedness and Response to Care Challenges’, encompassed over 5,000 elderly and 1,000 primary caregivers across 20 Tier I and Tier II cities in 10 states.

Financial dependence was a recurring theme, affecting one in three elders who reported no income in the past year, with a higher proportion among women (38%) than men (27%). Illiteracy compounded these issues, as 40% of illiterate elders lacked access to income sources, compared to 29% literates.

Rohit Prasad, CEO of HelpAge India, emphasized the urgent need for a comprehensive Long Term Care framework tailored to the specific needs of vulnerable elderly segments.

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