elder abuse in India

A large percentage of India’s elderly face abuse from their sons, rather than daughters-in-law, with financial dependence being one of the main reasons for neglect and abuse. While the government gives a paltry monthly pension of Rs.200 [US$3.80] to those over 60 years in BPL [Below Poverty Line] families, social activists are fighting for raising this to Rs.2,000 [US$38] a month for all the elderly, irrespective of economic background. A survey conducted by HelpAge India on elder abuse indicates that the elderly suffer abuse silently – mostly at the hands of their sons.

“There is a common belief that only daughters-in-law abuse elders. On the contrary, 56 percent of those surveyed felt it was their sons who abuse them; daughters-in-law scored as low as 23 percent,” Mathew Cherian, chief executive of HelpAge India, told IANS. …. The report is based on a survey across 20 major cities, with a sample size of 5,600 and 280 elders per city. ….

“Nearly 33 percent of them are living without their children. Around 22 million widows, a fairly large group, have no form of subsistence. The widow’s pension reaches only about 10 percent of the widows,” said Cherian. ”Overall, the situation of the elderly in the country is very bleak,” he added. Financial burden is one of the main reasons for the neglect and abuse. Experts say universal old age pension would help the elders in a big way.

56% elderly abused by their sons“, Health.India.Com, 1 October 2012.

The full “Report on Elder Abuse in India” can be downloaded here.

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