Saturday, June 16, 2007

Concern over incidence of elder abuse
R. Sujatha

SHOWING EMPATHY: SCARF India joint director Shantha Kamath (left), Dignity Foundation vice-chairman K. Radhakrishnan (centre) and director (services) Geetha Kumar at a meeting in Chennai on Friday. — Photo: S.S. Kumar

"In the last five years, we have been getting two to three calls for help from elders every day. We solve eight cases of elder abuse every month," K. Radhakrishnan, vice-chairman, Dignity Foundation, told a function organised here on Friday to mark the World Elder Abuse Day.

"Much of the elder abuse happens in middle and upper middle class homes, 85 per cent of which is related to property," he said. The ill treatment takes the form of denying food and social contact and sometimes even violence. According to Shantha Kamath, joint director of Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF) India, about 5 to 10 per cent of the elderly population in the developed and developing countries, except Japan, are victims of abuse. Physical abuse is rare in India, but psychological and financial abuse is high. "HelpAge registers 900 cases a year, she said.

Foundation director (services) Geetha Kumar and social worker Mary Rose Thomas spoke.


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