Alarm – 13 percent elders experience physical abuse: Study
‘40 pc want to be employed for as long as possible’
New Delhi: About 40 per cent of elderly nationally want to be employed for “as long as possible” while an alarming 13 per cent elders experienced physical abuse in the form of beating and slapping, according to a new study.
HelpAge India said its report is a dip-stick study to understand the overarching gaps in income employment at old age, health and wellbeing, elder abuse and safety and social and digital inclusion of elderly.
It is based on a sample size of 4,399 elder respondents and 2,200 young adult caregivers across 22 cities in India.
The study found that about 40 per cent of elderly nationally want to be employed for “as long as possible”.
Nationally, the study found that 59 per cent elders feel that elder abuse is prevalent in society, while only 10 per cent elders admitted to being a victim of elder abuse, with relatives (36 per cent), son (35 per cent) and daughter-in-law (21 per cent) being the top three perpetrators.
Disrespect (57 per cent), verbal abuse (38 per cent), neglect (33 per cent), economic exploitation (24 per cent) and an alarming 13 per cent elders experienced physical abuse, in the form of beating and slapping.
In Delhi, 74 per cent elderly feel that such abuse is prevalent in society while 12 per cent were themselves victims. Elders attribute the abuse to their sons’ (35 per cent) and daughters’ in law (44 per cent) as the biggest perpetrators of abuse.
Nationally, 47 per cent of those abused stated they ‘stopped talking to family’ as a response to the abused faced. Again family here becomes a key role player. In Delhi, 83 per cent of elderly stated they ‘stopped talking to family’.
Also, nationally 47 per cent elders are dependent on family for source of income while 34 per cent are dependent on pension and cash transfers.
“Meanwhile in Delhi, 57 per cent of elderly are dependent on family, while 63 per cent depend upon pensions and cash transfers. It means that a large number of elders in Delhi have both family as well as pension support,” the report said.
However, when asked about the adequacy of income, nationally 52 per cent elders reported it was inadequate.
Meanwhile, a substantial 40 per cent elders said they do not feel financially secure, citing their ‘incurred expenses are more than savings/income’ (57 per cent) and pension not being enough (45 per cent) as the top reasons.
This suggests both financial planning for later years and social security needs much greater attention.
Meanwhile in Delhi, 52 per cent of elderly say that their income is adequate, while 48 per cent say it is inadequate, it said.
About 36 per cent elders are willing to work and 40 per cent of them want to work ‘as long as possible’, 61 per cent elders feel they aren’t ‘adequate and accessible employment opportunities’ for elderly available.
In Delhi, 87 per cent of elders are not working, even as 40 per cent say they have access to employment opportunities.
The study further finds out that 44 per cent of Delhi elders are willing to work after their retirement.
The key aspirations elderly have cited that are needed to create an enabling environment for employment opportunities are – 45 per cent elderly suggested ‘work from home’ as the best means, 34 per cent have asked ‘more respect be given to working elderly’ and 29 per cent have asked for ‘increase in retirement age’ and ‘jobs exclusively for elderly’.
Post Covid, the need for better health protection has strongly emerged with 49 per cent elderly expressing their aspiration for improved health, through better health insurance and better health facilities each and 42 per cent stating there should be more support from home.
“Time for government to act on its promise of supporting and strengthening the family structure, to take better care of elderly. The insurance sector and schemes – both government and private – needs to better address the health insurance needs of elderly, and it’s time for employers to take off their ageist glasses and give elderly a chance to prove their mettle,” said Anupama Datta, head (policy and research) at HelpAge India.