Elderly people deserve respect, love and care- Stop Abusing Elderly | Adamas University

Elderly people deserve respect, love and care- Stop Abusing Elderly

Sociology

Elderly people deserve respect, love and care- Stop Abusing Elderly

National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), National Commission for Women (NCW), WHO, reports during COVID-19 illuminated about the increasing rate of domestic violence which includes women and child related domestic violence but ignored domestic violence against elderly people. The reason behind that is the issue of elder abuse is still unrecognized and not adequately acknowledged as a community apprehension irrespective of pre and within COVID- 19 scenario. 15th June is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, so we should be aware about the issue and it is important for caregivers, health care professionals, and those in the helping professions to know the signs of abuse and take step against it.

What is elder abuse?

Mistreatment of elderly is referred to as ‘‘elder abuse’’. Elderly Abuse is done either by an individual person, institution, community or larger society. Abuse may be done either once or repeatedly, various forms of abuses are-

Physical abuse related to the cautious acts leading to physical harm which includes beating, hitting , slapping, and pushing of elder person.

Verbal abuse consists of the intended actions mainly in form of words, includes insulting or using filthy language, shouting, and unnecessary blaming of an elder.

Economic/ material abuse related to any premeditated action which involves illegal or non-authorized use of an elder person’s economic/ material resources, falsifying their signature, forcing them to sign documents which may lead to lose their financial or any material resources.

Sexual abuse implies to any deliberate act which involves forcing sexual activities, includes rape, molest or showing pornographic materials, forcing elder people to commit sexual activities amongst themselves or kissing an elder person.

Neglect is intentional failure to meet one’s own responsibilities in caring for the elder person-such as denying to attend to their needs while the resources are presented, leaving them alone without any helper.

Spiritual abuse comprise of planned act to harm the spiritual wellbeing of the elder people. Examples here include false accusations of elder people as witches/wizards; condemning them to be behind misfortunes in society, or being demonized among others

Political abuse related to hurt the civil and political life of the elder person such as forcing or making the elder people to vote for a certain political party or candidate in an election or intentional use of elder people’s civic/political documents like national registration cards or voters cards by certain political regimes or parties to make a certain political party or candidate win an election contrary to the desires of the particular elder person (Wolf, 2000; Iborra 2009; Mupila, 2008; WHO, 2012, Help Age International, 2011; Kabelenga, 2015).

Other practices of elder abuses such as medication abuse, loss of respect; scapegoating – identifying and blaming elderly- usually elderly widow women are blamed  for any misfortune, neglect including isolation, abandonment and social exclusion, violation of human, legal and medical rights, deprivation of choices, decisions, status, finances and respect, armed conflict, displacement, disasters and emergencies can also be seen. (Shankardass, 2003 ; Puri, 2007). Various narratives of elderly person showed that instances of burning, scalding, being pushed around, experience of rough handling , spitting, forcing to eat unappetizing/ unwanted food, treating like a servant, keeping older persons’ health at risk, poor and/ or no care, putting excessive pressure on the older persons, and exposing them to humiliating behavior, institutionalizing them are also form of abuse. 

Elder abuse is still unrecognized – Definitional Disputes

Detection of elder abuse in India is tough.In India, elder abuse is difficult to document and quantify because there are number of factors which lead to the lack of recognition and insignificance of Elder Abuse. These ares-

  1. Ubiquitous approach of Indian about elder abuse – We think elder abuse is a strong word which does not generally happen to elderly in our society, in our families actually, its associated with western societies. Sankardas Malakapur (2008) argued that ‘elder abuse’ equated with very violent physical behaviour is a concept associated with ‘western societies’
  2. Nationalized un-consideration Elder abuse has not achieved the same national disgrace that would lift up it to an urgent social problem and coalesce support for addressing it as other forms of family violencee child and women abuse. Lack of national data collection system regarding elder abuse relates to failing of understanding existence and prevalence of elder abuse, and fails to respond. In addition, ageism i.e negative attitude towards elderly contribute to indifference toward their mistreatment.
  3. Lack of centralized recognition and funding to combat it- Recent legislation promoted by Indian Govt. significantly, ‘The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill’ (2007) provides an conception of elder abuse in the Indian context, without actually defining it. It is viewed as a social welfare mechanism to protect adults, parents and senior citizens, defined as 60 years of age or older. It views neglect of elderly as worry and its understanding in terms of mistreatment is similar to that voiced by the WHO, 2002, where it is seen as a indicator of the timeless phenomenon of inter-personal violence.

Elder Abuse has long been an unseen problem in our society. Abuse of elderly is growing challenge in all the societies.  There is urgent need of Strategies to combat Abuse which areraiseing voice against abuse, contact Senior Citizen’s Association to help and guide, register complaint with the police,  nurture good intergenerational- interpersonal relationship,elderly can make SHG for active aging, awareness and education- people need to be educated to perceive the elderly favorably, structural solutions i.e. effective policy, implementation of the laws by the law enforcing agencies and the role of media should help to create positive image of elders in society and moreover consideration of elder abuse as important social problem & strong action against abuse are important strategies against the elder abuse. Raising awareness about the abuse is utmost important. As there is a stigma surrounding elder abuse, it is important to let elderly know about the types of abuse and the ways to report events of abuse. The nations of the world must create an environment in which ageing is accepted as a natural part of the life cycle, where anti-ageing attitudes are discouraged, where older people are given the right to live in dignity, free of abuse and exploitation and are given opportunities to participate fully in educational, cultural, spiritual and economic activities and have better quality of life.

“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors.”― Tia Walker

Important Law in Favour of Elderly people

Section 125 Code of criminal Procedure 1973 (Order for maintenance of Wives, children and parents)

Domestic Violence Act, 2005- Elderly women facing abuse can lodge complaint

Male victim can seek justice under Section 323 of Indian Penal Code

Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007- Act compels a child to provide maintenance upto Rs. 10,000/-

HELP A CALL AWAY – ORGANISATION FOR ELDERLY CARE IN KOLKATA

Help line for elderly-

Kokata police-9830088884

Pronam: (033)24190740

Dignity Foundation: (033)30690999

Help Age India: 1800-345-1253

 BANCHBO healing touch: (033)65160058,(91)9903388556 (For medical emergencies only)

Saanjhbaati: (91)9748856000 CARES: (91)9830779291 Institute of Geriatric Care & Research: (91)9830372605

CARES: (91)9830779291

Society of Geriatric: (033) 65197474

References:

Bose, Ashish and Shankardass, Mala Kapur., (2004) . Growing Old in India: Voices Reveal and Statistics Speak. India: B. R. Publishing Co.

HelpAge International. (2011). HelpAge International’s submission for the Consultation on the Human Rights of Older Persons: Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing. London: HelpAge International

Wolf, R. S. (2000). The Nature and Scope of Elder Abuse: Changes in Perspective and Response over the Past 25 Years. Generations 24(2): 6−12.

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