Elder Abuse At Home

Being harassed by their children for their deposits and property; Their signatures being faked to take loans against the properties. Children refusing to take elderly parents to the doctor for treatment; not getting their food or medication on time; rude language and behaviour; threats to throw them out on the streets if they complain.

From Indiatogether.org

Elder abuse is on the rise in India even as most senior citizens remain unaware of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007 and redressal mechanisms. Reshmi Chakraborty and Nidhi Chawla took a look at findings from a recent survey and spoke to elder helpline counselors to find a bleak picture.

With life expectancy increasing steadily, more and more people are living longer. And with this has come a number of new risks and challenges. Being harassed by their children for their deposits and property; Their signatures being faked to take loans against the properties. Children refusing to take elderly parents to the doctor for treatment; not getting their food or medication on time; rude language and behaviour; threats to throw them out on the streets if they complain.

These are some of the types of elder abuse, say those working to prevent it. Given our cultural conditioning, it is expected that children, especially the sons, would take care of parents in their old age. However, surveys and workshops by organisations working with elders like HelpAge India, Nightingale’s Medical Trust (NMT), Bangalore show several instances of elder abuse where the immediate family is the main perpetrator. ‘The sons, along with the daughters-in-law are increasingly turning abusers. Surprisingly there is an emerging trend of the daughters also turning abusive,’ says a 2014 study,  Elder Abuse in India.

Elder abuse can be prevented or at least reported with a little awareness, which, sadly enough, is yet to come.

Senior citizens in the country can avoid ill-treatment or abuse at the hands of their family under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007. This law aims to prevent elder abuse by making it a legal obligation of children to provide maintenance to their parents. Under the Act, parents and grandparents who are unable to maintain themselves from their own incomes can demand maintenance from their children. The Act also provides for ‘Childless Senior Citizens,’ who are unable to maintain themselves from their own income and can demand maintenance from their relatives. Maintenance in this case includes provision for food, clothing, residence, medical attendance and treatment.

Unfortunately, awareness of the Act is extremely low among senior citizens in India, according to a survey done by HelpAge India in 2014. One in five elders is unaware of any available redressal mechanisms. Their awareness of the existence and the provisions of the Maintenance Act is very low; only 14 % of abuse victims even know the law exists.

Read more at Indiatogether.org

 

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