Only 29.2% elderly have control over finances: Agewell Foundation

New Delhi | Updated: Jul 21 2014, 17:08pm hrs
Agewell FoundationIndian population has approximately tripled during the last 50 years, but the number of elderly Indians (60+) has increased more than four fold: Himanshu Rath, Founder and Chairman of Agewell Foundation
In a disturbing revelation, every third elderly person suffers from some sort of misbehaviour or mistreatment at others' hands in Delhi & NCR, indicates a study conducted by Agewell Foundation.

The Agewell Foundation, which conducted a national level survey for the fifth session of Open-ended Working Group on Ageing, says this is the most common form of abuse of the elderly - the even, aimed at strengthening the protection of the human rights of older persons will be held on July 31 and August 1 at UN Headquarters in New York.

The survey sample respondents included 8000 elderly people from Delhi & NCR and concluded that out of 2743 affected elderly respondents, 985 ranked misbehaviour as most common form of abuse. Human Rights of the Elderly: Delhi Survey

Population aging is a worldwide phenomenon, and India is no exception. Indian population has approximately tripled during the last 50 years, but the number of elderly Indians (60+) has increased more than four fold. The 2011 census has shown that the elderly population (60+) accounted for 98.3 million, which was projected to cross the 100 million mark during that year, says Himanshu Rath, Founder Chairman of Agewell Foundation said.

Agewell Foundation has also undertaken a state specific report to highlight the plight of elderly people in each state, all over the country. Survey suggests that every fifth elderly (20.8% i.e. 540 out of 2743 elderly respondents) were affected due to restrictions in their social life by their family members or others. According to them restricted social life is ranked most common form of elder abuse by 568 elderly respondents. 690 out of 2743 elderly respondents, suffering elder abuse termed restricted social life as second most common form of elder abuse. Human Rights of the Elderly: India Report

For the survey a representative sample of 8000 older people in Delhi-NCR(3000 from rural areas and 5000 from urban areas) were interviewed by Agewell volunteers spread across 15 districts . During the survey 3900 older men and 4100 older women were interviewed by the volunteers.

26.5% elderly respondents (2089 elderly respondents) said that they are dependent on their family members for finances while another 14.1% (1016) elderly respondents were depending on others (other than their own family members). The survey found that in rural areas more elderly people were living in their own houses in comparison to urban areas. 73.3% of total dependent elderly respondents were living in houses of their children/grand-children. Rath said.

But more importantly, the survey points out that only 29.2% elderly respondent (45.8% elderly men & 8.4% elderly women) had actual control over their finances.

57.6% elderly respondents (68.2% elderly men and 46.1% elderly women) claimed that they have to face harassment / mistreatment over housing in old age. Out of 8000 elderly respondents interviewed during the survey, 4729 older persons said that they face harassment / mistreatment due to housing. Even though many of them are the owners of their property; Harassment due to housing/shelter is more prevalent in urban areas in comparison to rural areas.

54.6% elderly respondents were being harassed/mistreated by their daughter/s-in-law and daughter/s in law & son/s both due to house/land properties. Out of 4729 elderly respondents suffering from elder abuse due to their house/land properties 398 older persons reportedly said that their son/s harass them. 385 older persons said that their daughter/s-in-law and 368 older persons said that their son/s and daughter/s-in-law both harass them.

Elderly women were found facing comparatively higher cases of harassment and mistreatment due to their house/land property with the hands of their daughter/s-in-law. 29.32% elderly women blame their daughter/s-in-law for harassment/mistreatment in old age while 28.9% elderly women were of the view that their daughter/s-in-law are harassing / mistreating them.

According to the survey 21.4% elderly men and 31.2% elderly women were depending on their family members while 9.8% elderly men and 18.8% elderly women were reportedly dependent on others. Only 891 elderly respondents accepted that they manage their finances as per their choice. Almost half of the financially self-dependent elderly (48.2%) have no control over their money and their family members have actual control on their financial income. Out of 3269, 1606 respondents claimed that they could not manage their money matters or mostly because their family members/relatives dont let them control their money.