Bhanu P Lohumi
Tribune News Service
Shimla, December 20
About 20 per cent of the elderly persons face abuse from their children in Himachal. Sons account for 54 per cent of such cases as compared to daughters-in-law who account for 46 per cent of these cases.
Only 3 pc women report cases
No aged male has reported abuse and only 3 per cent aged women have reported it due to the fear of retaliation and ineffective channels of redressal. Dr Rajesh Kumar
As per a study by Help Age India in the state, based on 1,000 families, disrespect, neglect and verbal abuse were leading forms of abuse while the lack of adjustment and caregiver stress were leading reasons for abuse. About 42 per cent of respondents experienced neglect, 34 per cent disrespect and 24 per cent faced verbal abuse.
As per the study, 97 per cent respondents agreed with the prevalence of abuse against aged in society. However, only 17 per cent had personally experienced abuse, said the state head of Help Age India for Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh Dr Rajesh Kumar.
“No aged male has reported abuse due to the fear of retaliation and ineffective channels of redressal and only 3 per cent aged women have reported it ,” he said.
He said in India, this kind of abuse is about 25 per cent. There are more than 10 crore elderly persons in the country and 5.50 crore of them are below the poverty line. About 10 to 15 per cent of elderly persons are widows or single women, that too destitute, and 25 per cent of the elderly population have no access to the health care system while 52 per cent have no family support.
He said, in 2018, a study of the United Nations categorically reported that “India is no country for elderly persons” as the right to live with dignity has no meaning for them. Dr Rajesh Kumar said in 2018-19, the Supreme Court had asked to start an old age home in each district in the country as the situation was getting worse day by day. However, very little has been done in this regard, he said.
“Even after being left out and sent to old age homes, not even one per cent of elderly parents are willing to go against their children. There is a dire need to strengthen generational bonds and sensitise the youth, making them understand that what goes around, comes around and one day they would also grow old,” said chairman of Umang Foundation Prof Ajai Srivastava, adding that social security pension should be increased to at least Rs 2,000 per month.