'Sensitisation on elders' needs key to end their abuse'

'Sensitisation on elders' needs key to end their abuse'

Awareness about abuse of elders has increased in the city, but there is still a long way to go in sensitising people to the needs of senior citizens, experts in the field say. Thursday, June 15, is observed as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

The elders’ helpline, located in the office of the city police commissioner, was set up in 2002 by Nightingales Medical Trust (NMT) and the city police to provide support for elders. Radha S Murthy, managing trustee of NMT, said, “Earlier, elders were hesitant to speak up about abuse. Now, they reach out and seek help. They know their legal rights,” she said.

Property disputes are at the root of most cases of neglect, emotional and physical abuse of elders by their children, Radha said. “In Indian society, people spend all their money on their children, even if they are being ill-treated. This mindset has to change. Parents should think about their own well-being and plan their finances in advance.”  An increasing generation gap is also a cause for trouble. People must be sensitised through dialogue, said Shiv Kumar, convener of the helpline.

“We are thinking of introducing a module at the school-level for children, to tell them about their obligation towards senior citizens. We would also like to draw their attention to the United Nations Principles for Older Persons,” Kumar said. To create awareness about elders’ abuse, city-based Caveo Geriatric Services is creating a series of easy-to-understand videos by interviewing lawyers and geriatric counsellors. Founder Devanshi Seth said, “One out of every four households has a case of emotional abuse of elders. In most cases, it is unintentional and could have been avoided if there was awareness.”

Helpline numbers
Dial ‘1090’ or ‘100’ for counselling services, senior citizen cards, information on healthcare services for senior citizens, old age homes, legal aid.

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