Nearly half of all elderly people say that they face abuse while outside, and few can count on help in an emergency, a new survey of the elderly in 19 Indian cities has found.
The advocacy group HelpAge India released the 'How India Treats Its Elderly - 2017' report on Wednesday, with a survey conducted by MaRS Monitoring and Research Systems. The researchers conducted household interviews with over 4600 people aged over 60 years in 19 small and big cities across the country.
In all 44% of respondents reported facing abuse in public; people getting impatient over their slowness was the top complaint, followed by younger people getting preference in shops and finding themselves treated badly if not dressed well. Topping their wish lists were simple requests: that people speak more politely to them, take the trouble to listen to them and give them space in shops and banks.
In all 44% of respondents reported facing abuse in public; people getting impatient over their slowness was the top complaint, followed by younger people getting preference in shops and finding themselves treated badly if not dressed well.
Roughly half of those surveyed did not feel confident that the public would help them if they needed attention when outdoors for a walk. Half also had serious concerns about the challenges they faced from motorists and two-wheeler drivers; elderly citizens in Bengaluru had the greatest difficulty with traffic. The elderly in Bengaluru also reported the highest overall abuse in public (seven out of ten persons).
The survey found that the top fears among respondents about going out were that they would have an accident due to the negligence of others, that they would not receive help in a medical emergency and the fear of being cheated financially. Between 11% and 19% also encountered rude behaviour from service delivery persons, including at the post office, bank and hospital. 16% found that bus drivers and conductors were rude to them.
The survey found that the top fear among respondents about going out were that they would have an accident due to the negligence of others.
"The core of it all is ageism... few understand it, but practice it knowingly or unknowingly in their daily lives with elders. Simple things like assuming elders can't understand technology, or being impatient with elders, or pushing an elder in a hurry to get to their destination, or ignoring their utility due to their age, are just some of things," Manjira Khurana, Country Head – Communications & Advocacy, HelpAge India, said.