December 27, 2011

INDIA: Abuse of senior citizens on rise

COIMBATORE, Tamil Nadu / Deccan Chronicle / December 27, 2011

By Pradeep Damodaran - DC - Coimbatore

While the gruesome attack on 90-year-old Rengarajan who was killed by his grandson at their family home in R. S. Puram might be a rare incident, the abuse that elderly citizens undergo within the confines of four walls of their home is quite common and prevalent, say psychiatrists and senior geriatricians.

Chennai-based senior geriatrician Dr Natarajan , who has been practicing for the last 30 years, pointed out the elders go through three kinds of abuse at homes. “The first one is verbal abuse wherein the caregiver screams at their grandparents or great grandparents and is quite common. The second and the most common form of abuse is psychological abuse while physical assault is rare, at least in urban areas,” Dr Natarajan said.

He said over the last 30 years of practice he has noted a steep rise in psychological abuse.

“Almost 50 per cent of patients I receive these days complain of psychological abuse. Although, youngsters these days stay in joint families for the sake of society, they isolate and neglect elders,” he said.

Many of the joint families remain broken where the grandfather or grandmother is confined to the car shed or some corner of the home.

Even the food they serve senior citizens is worse than what is given to a pet, the doctor point out. “I have had patients who come with ailments and when I suggest medications and scans, their children come to me and suggest that I give some cheap medicines and send the old man or woman back. They are not really keen on treating the ailment on most occasions,“ he said.

Copyright © 2011 Deccan Chronicle.
Credit: Reports and photographs are property of owners of intellectual rights. 
Seniors World Chronicle, a not-for-profit, serves to chronicle and widen their reach.