‘62% elderly face abuse in Mangaluru’

‘62% elderly face abuse in Mangaluru’

Mangaluru has the highest percentage of elder abuse, Head of Geriatric Medicine Department, Yenepoya Hospital, Dr Prabha Adhikari said quoting HelpAge India’s report, released a year ago.

She was speaking at a programme organised by Vishwas Trust to observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day at Roshni Nilaya here, on Saturday.

Prabha startled the crowd with shocking facts on elder abuse in the city. “The study had reported that 62% of the elderly in Mangaluru experienced abuse,” she said.

Findings of a survey, conducted on a sample size of 218 elderly persons in nine clusters from different socio-economic strata, revealed that 22% were abused physically by family members or by home nurses or caregivers. A whopping 72% felt abused through disrespect owing to neglect because of technological distraction.

About 14% felt psychologically abused. While not all cases of psychological abuse are intentional, 20%-25% felt financially abused. Yelling and shouting is a less frequent form of psychological abuse compared to the silent treatment.

“Elders felt that due to a communication gap between them and their family members, they felt neglected or end up confused and worried that they did something wrong. There were zero cases of sexual abuse reported. Offenders included 48% of sons, 14% of daughters-in-law, 10% spouses and 3% of daughters,” she added.

Often victims do not report their plight to protect family honour or because an action is not taken when cases are reported. Only 30%-35% of the cases reported are resolved. Victims and their family members also prefer reporting to social bodies rather than police stations or take legal action so as not to attract unwanted attention,” Prabha explained.

She said that the best way to reach your children is through the internet without getting heavily involved in their personal life or comment publicly on it. She also advised the crowd to make their own arrangements for their retirement and old age rather than depending heavily on their children as this leads to frustration and revenge.

School of Social Work Roshni Nilaya Principal Juliet C J stressed on the importance of strengthening inter-generational bonding. She also observed that children make the elderly feel happier as seen in assisted living centres.

Coordinator of Senior Citizen Helpline Lidwin Lobo said that financial abuse branches out into other types of abuse such as physical through deprivation. “All abuse is inter-linked. Until Mangaluru is elder abuse-free, it is not a Smart City”, she stressed.

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