Almost half of Chennai elderly financially dependent, 14% face abuse: Survey

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A national-level survey by Help Age India, conducted in 22 cities across India, has found that 49 per cent of the elderly in Chennai were dependent on their families for their financial needs, and 14 per cent of the elders face abuse, including verbal abuse, disrespect, neglect, and physical abuse.

The survey report titled “Bridge the gap: understanding elder needs” was conducted ahead of the World Elder Abuse Day that falls on June 15. Releasing the report, Social Welfare and Women Empowerment Director D. Rathna said that 14% of the population were senior citizens in the state and that the percentage would steadily increase in the coming days.

She also said that the state has understood the challenges faced with respect to caring for the elderly and an exclusive policy for the welfare of the elderly would be soon released.

The survey was done with the participation of 4,399 elders and 2,200 caregivers from middle-income families, while the opinion of 200 elders and 100 caregivers of Chennai city was also taken.

Chennai was the only city in Tamil Nadu where the survey was conducted.

The findings of the survey revealed that methods must be taken for improving the financial independence of the elders from the present position.

The survey also found that 67 per cent of the elderly in Chennai were not working, and out of this 27 per cent said that they were willing to work.

HelpAge India officials stated that the elderly who are willing to work in Chennai wanted a conducive environment to work and most of them are looking for work-from-home options.

HelpAge India’s Head, Policy Research, Anupama Datta, in a statement, said: “The elderly must be given a chance to work and prove their mettle, and the employers must take off their ageist glasses and provide them the opportunity.”

The survey also found that several elders who were interviewed don’t want to be dependents and instead want to contribute to society.

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