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Turning age-friendly

Elder abuse is associated with devastating individual consequences and societal costs, meriting attention as a serious public health issue.

Published on December 19, 2020 at 2:39 pm

Updated on March 20, 2021 at 06:48 am

Elder abuse mostly remains hidden.

Ageing in India is exponentially increasing due to the impressive gains that society has made in terms of increased life expectancy. It is projected that the proportion of Indians aged 60 and older will rise from 7.5% in 2010 to 11.1% in 2025. In 2010, India had more than 91.6 million elderly and the number of elderly in India is projected to reach 158.7 million in 2025.

Care for the elderly is fast emerging as a critical element of both the public and private concern. The needs and problems of the elderly vary significantly according to their age, socio-economic status, health, living status and other such background characteristics. On many occasions their social rights are neglected and they are profusely abused, which unfortunately goes unreported most of the time. Elder abuse is expected to become an even more pressing problem, affecting millions of individuals. Elder abuse is associated with devastating individual consequences and societal costs, meriting attention as a serious public health issue.

Aruna Anand leads operations for Dignity Foundation.

For many senior citizens, the problems of life begin at home. Elder abuse can be in the form of physical abuse, psychological abuse, economic abuse and neglect and isolation. The biggest challenge with elder abuse is that it is usually hidden. A sense of fear that they may be abused more if they speak up leads to elder abuse being hidden.

“One of our biggest moral obligations we have as a society is to take care of our seniors,” says Aruna Anand, CEO, Dignity Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that has been working for the cause of senior citizens for over two decades now. We have an innate responsibility to support the aged as they strive towards ageing productively, she adds.

Elder abuse can be physical or psychological.

Dignity Foundation has been running a helpline service for senior [+91-22-6138-1111] citizens since 1995. This helpline, which remains operational from Monday to Friday (10.00 am to 6.00 pm) enables senior citizens to reach out for help and assistance against abuse. Along with cases of abuse, the helpline handles innumerable cases related to loneliness and the feeling of insecurity, fear and helplessness among the aged.

Dignity Foundation also runs other programmes that offer senior citizens an enriching set of opportunities to lead a more dignified, secure, and joyful and fulfilling life.

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