Shimla: One of the issues which hardly got due attention is elder abuse; the neglect or ill-treatment of old people by their children. As per an expert, one-fourth of the elderly population in the country faces abuse. Interestingly, in 52 percent of cases, abusers are sons, not daughters-in-law.

In Himachal, the prevalence of abuse was 20 percent in the elderly population and abuse by sons and daughters-in-law was 54 percent and 46 percent respectively.

It was revealed by Dr Rajesh Kumar, State Head of Help Age India for Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh quoting a report in a webinar on “The Rights of Elderly Persons and Role of Youth in their Protection” organized by Umang Foundation, a human rights organization.

Dr Kumar revealed that in 2018, a study of the United Nations categorically reported that, ‘India is no country for elderly persons’ as a right to live with dignity has no meaning for them.

“There are 10 crore, elderly persons, in the country and 5.50 crore of them are below the poverty line. About 10 to 15 percent of elderly persons are widows or single women, that too destitute,” Dr. Rajesh Kumar said and further added that more than 25 percent of the elderly population has no access to the health care system, and 52 percent have no family support.

Dr. Rajesh Kumar suggested the need to provide them with health security, food security and social security. He said the government should start geriatrics wards in each district hospital and appoints specialized doctors and nurses. 

He also demanded to increase the social security pension to Rs. 2000 per month, and also asked to comply with the Supreme Court’s direction to start one old age home in each district in the country.

Prof. Ajai Srivastava, chairman of Umang Foundation, shared the success stories which transformed the lives of destitute elderly persons and how his PIL in the High Court converted neglected old age Home into a modern one in Shimla district.

As many as 70 youths from Himachal Pradesh and other states participated in the 14th weekly webinar on human rights.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.