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Living with abuse - Our hapless senior citizens

Indian culture respects its elders, and abuse of the elderly is a western thing. We've forever hard that line. Only problem: It's a terrible myth.

A recent study in 20 cities across India revealed that at least 31% of elders face abuse and 24% are abused almost daily. And in a society where parents often crave male babies, the study found that sons were responsible for most of the abuse(56%). Daughter in law accounted for 23% of incidents. Elderly women are more abused than men.

"In most abusive situations," reveals Director Prakash Borgaonkar of HelpAge India, an NGO working for the elderly that did the study, "the senior citizen remains silent about every form if abuse, and often doesn't know where to complain:

Living with abuse - Our hapless senior citizens

An earlier report, by HelpAge and the World Health Organization, based on discussion with elderly person and health workers who interact with the senior citizens in the New Delhi area, described the kinds of abuse the elderly are subject to and it's not only physical. Among them: extreme neglect, not feeding parents well or making them wait endlessly for meals, verbal and economic abuse, where property and other assets are grabbed from them.

It's frightening! India has about 80 million senior citizens, a figure that will double in 20 years.