Source: The Quint
More than half of all senior citizens experienced abuse and “ill treatment” at public places in Bengaluru, a country-wide report by HelpAge India has revealed.
Karnataka’s share of the elderly (60 years and above) in the total population is 8.4 percent, as per the 2011 census.
As many as 269 out of 384 elderly persons in Bengaluru outrightly expressed their experiences of public mistreatment, according to the the ‘How India Treats its Elderly’ study.
How Does India Treat its Elderly?
The study by the non-profit organisation that for the elderly, was conducted across 19 cities in India, and had a total of 4,615 respondents.The senior citizens were interviewed face-to-face, using a structured questionnaire. The research documented the experience of aged citizens and their experiences in public places, interacting with auto-rickshaw drivers, service providers, shop-keepers, bus conductors, and others.
Seventy percent elderly citizens in Bengaluru said they were subject to abuse, followed by Hyderabad at 60 percent, Guwahati at 59 percent and Kolkata at 52 percent.
The report also covered aspects like the general state of mind of elders when they got out of their homes and their expectations from the society at large.
Sonali Sharma, Joint Director of Communication, HelpAge India, told The Quint:
From the interactions, most of the elderly expressed their disappointment in the way they were treated by people in public places. From neglecting them to responding in an impolite manner, they’ve been treated appallingly.Impatient Bengaluru?
The IT capital of the country turned out to be the worst in terms of mistreating senior citizens. The traffic situation in Bengaluru is known to be a nightmare for anybody living in this city and particularly the elderly. Around 68 percent respondents noted that motorists were unruly around them.
“I’ve seen many youngsters abusing senior citizens just because they tend to drive a little slow compared to others,” said MC Ramesh, Founder & General Secretary, Hosa Belaku Home for Aged.
The staff at malls (27 percent), chemist shops (29 percent), post offices (20 percent) and private hospitals (27 percent) were also included in the list. “Senior citizens who stay in our home have told us that the workforce employed at malls and shops are generally impatient and sometimes act like they don’t even exist,” MC Ramesh said.
Awareness is Key
With the rampant number of incidents of ill-treatment being reported, it is imperative to sensitise citizens against such abuse. “The younger lot of the city needs to be sensitised immediately. This process should take place right from school. Academic institutions have to make an effort to strengthen moral lessons when it comes to respecting elders,” said Sonali Sharma.
Swathi Bhandari, Senior Project Manager at Nightingales Medical Trust, points out: “We don’t get too many complaints with respect to public abuse since the older folk might not have the strength and energy to take it forward.”
“They simply tend to tolerate the misbehaviour meted out to them,” said Bhandari, who has worked with the Bengaluru City Police to set up a 24/7 helpline to assist senior citizens facing physical, emotional and verbal abuse.
Unless a collective effort is put in by the people of the city, abuse of senior citizens will continue to be overlooked.
Approaches to detect and address abuse should be put in place before things become worse for the elders of our city. The only way to achieve this is to make the immediate society realise that mistreatment can lead to the end of our older generation before death itself.