Bhubaneswar: On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15), the Bhubaneswar branch of HelpAge India held an awareness campaign in the city to counter the problem of ‘abuse of the elderly’. During the campaign it was stressed that people should disconnect with social media for some time and spend quality time with elders, so that the latter will feel more happy and connected.
A signature campaign was organised at Ekamra Park, Buddha Park, Forest Park and IG Park where visitors were given leaflets and was made aware about the problems of elders. A signature campaign was organised at the Bhubaneswar railway station too. Around 50 auto-rickshaws were flagged off from Bhubaneswar and Cuttack carrying messages regarding the day.
Talking to Orissa POST, the state head of HelpAge India, Bharati Chakra said, “We launched this campaign to raise awareness among all age groups to provide care, love and respect to the elderly. Around 44 per cent of the elderly do not discuss abuses faced by them as they want to maintain the family’s image. We have started a campaign called ‘Disconnect to Connect’. We ask the people to disconnect with social media for some time and spend quality time with elders. They will feel more happy and connected.”
A survey was carried out by HelpAge India before World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It revealed that neglect is one of the most common forms of abuse. Around 80 per cent of the elderly said that social media has left them alone in their families. Though smartphones have brought families closer they have also left the elderly feeling isolated as family members are busy online.
The study was based on a sample survey of 5,014 elders across 23 cities. According to the survey, 52 per cent of the elderly said that their sons abused them the most followed by daughter-in-laws (34 per cent).
“People nowadays prefer nuclear families. They don’t want to live with elderly people. Even during vacations, when youngsters visit grandparents, they tend to spend more time with gadgets. So, they feel left out. The elderly are also abused. So to create awareness, HelpAge India launched this campaign,” said Komal Agarwal, intern, HelpAge India.
“Small gestures make a great difference. When we travel in buses we should offer elders seats, should give way for them, should not honk when we see an elderly person driving slowly etc,” she added.
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