Study on elderly who took legal course shows many face abuse at the hands of children

Source: Times of India

While most choose to suffer in silence, elderly who are taking the legal route to reclaim a life of dignity both inside and outside their homes are sharing facts that show physical abuse, mental torture and neglect at the hands of children.
A preliminary study on the effectiveness of the the Maintenance Act for Elders and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens’ Act 2007 based on interviews with 115 elderly petitioners by HelpAge India recounts the trauma of those in the twilight of their lives.

What is even more heart-breaking is that among the 115 petitioners across four states and eight districts, many are over 70 and a significant number above 80 years of age.

In Ludhiana, 76-year-old, H Singh was physically abused by his two sons who would hit him in the stomach and even broke his fingers when he refused to transfer the property in their name. In Kerala, 64-year-old Joseph and his wife from Ernakulum district used to get beaten every evening after his son consumed alcohol.

In fact the study says, the perpetrators of this violence are mostly children with 70% cases against sons and 21% against daughters.

The study found that 83% of the petitioners had already transferred the entire immovable property in favour of the children. Also only 29% were living with either of their children, 36% were living alone and 315 lived with only their spouse. Just 4% lived in old age homes and 62% did not prefer to live in a Home.

70-year-old Satwanti Kapoor, currently lodged in a private old age home in Amritsar told her interviewers: “Living alone in an old age home is a new and unexpected chapter of my life. I have a son, daughter in-law and grandchildren but am banished to live alone with strangers.”

She was living in an upscale locality in Delhi with her only son. But after his marriage, Satwanti’s new daughter-in-law continuously fought with her and abused her verbally. Unable to tolerate the abuse and humiliation, one morning she left home and went to an Ashram in Haridwar.

She later filed a petition in the tribunal in Amritsar. Her son came for the first hearing from Delhi and agreed to pay her Rs 10,000 per month as maintenance. She says she is getting the money regularly by bank transfer and it is enough to cover her expenses.

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