The ongoing Covid-19 crisis and lockdown related rules and restrictions have forced most older persons to live in isolation, with life of 69% of them affected adversely during the current situation, revealed a survey report released on Saturday, done by an NGO Agewell Foundation.
The online survey was conducted during the first two weeks of June, on over 5000 elderly respondents in different parts of the country. According to the report, 71% elderly respondents said that cases of elder abuse have increased during lockdown period. Among them 58% claimed that interpersonal relationships was the main factor responsible for fast increasing incidence of elder abuse in families.
Most common ways of Elder Abuse were found to be disrespect and verbal abuse, silent treatment (not talking to them), ignoring their daily needs, denying proper food, denying medical support, financial cheating, physical and emotional violence and forcing them to work. During the study it was found that 63.7% elderly respondents were facing neglect in their life. More than a half (56.1%) elderly respondents said that they are suffering elder abuse in their families and society.
“Old people of my age find it very difficult to adjust themselves in fast changing modern world. This causes a lot of worry in our lives and younger generations do not try to value their elderly members. They term elderly people as conservative and consider them as burden on their life. Current coronavirus situation has further worsened our life,” said Devender Gupta, 80, one of the respondents during the study in New Delhi.
It has been observed that due to coronavirus a negative atmosphere has been created around older persons, who are termed as soft target of coronavirus. Today even younger family members hesitate to come close to their own elderly family members. Older persons are not only facing social restrictions but also family restrictions, imposed by their own respective families. Older persons suffering from medical complications are not able to visit their doctors. They are not able to interact and share their worries with their friends or relatives. All this has made life of older persons more critical and it is also affecting their health adversely.
“Today, most older people are going through a very bad phase in their life. In view of coronavirus threat, affected elderly need to be assured of all possible help and support. Their children and family members too need to be sensitized about needs and rights of their elderly family members,” Himanshu Rath, Chairman, Agewell Foundation said. “At the same time, elderly themselves need to be educated about facilities, support systems, legal provisions and non-formal support network, accessible and available to them,” he said.
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