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Elderly abuse a growing concern in India, LASI

Elderly abuse a growing concern in India, LASI

According to the Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (LASI), at least 5 per cent of India's elderly population aged 60 and above experienced ill-treatment in the year 2020.

LASI is a full-scale national survey of scientific investigations that focuses on the health, economic, and social well-being of India's elderly population.

The abuses faced by elderly people which can be classified as sexual, financial, psychological and physical have always been an international concern as it leads to multiple health and emotional problems in these people. Abuse against the elderly is also a fundamental violation of rights.

Bihar with 12 per cent recorded the highest share of old people ill-treated in India followed by Karnataka (10 per cent), West Bengal (8 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (6 per cent), Chandigarh (6 per cent) and Chhattisgarh (6 per cent).

Among the elderly who faced ill-treatment, 77.3 per cent complained of verbal or emotional ill-treatment which could inflict serious harm on their self-worth and emotional well-being.

Torture, sorrow, fear, loss of personal pride or sovereignty and perverse emotional discomfort are some of the results of the emotional harm that can emerge from verbal or emotional abuse. Elderly respondents experiencing verbal and emotional ill-treatment was the highest in the states of Uttarakhand (100 per cent).

About 23.7 per cent of the elderly experienced physical ill-treatment and the victims are the highest in Arunachal Pradesh (44.5 per cent) and Uttar Pradesh (43 per cent).

Comparatively the ill-treatment is more frequent in women and people residing in rural areas. Women as they lose their partners to old age lose support and are generally left with no source of income or economic activity.

Counselling families and communities on the importance of taking care of the elderly and taking extreme care of older people's essential and basic needs like food, shelter, protection and access to healthcare are the solutions to put an end to abuse and neglect against them.

Government taking adequate measures to give access to quality healthcare to the elderly in an age-sensitive manner and providing rehabilitation, community or home-based disability support can also redress the issue to a great extend.

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