Contextualizing Elder Abuse and Neglect in Institutional and Home Settings: Case Studies from India
Traditionally, Indian older adults were cared for by their family members where respect for the aged was an integral feature of the culture. With changing aspirations, family compositions, and changing social values, we see a greater crisis of care. In this context of care-gap, the issues of elder abuse and negligence are becoming more critical in dyadic care relationships in urban societies. In this chapter we explore different forms of abuse and mistreatment older adults experience from their care-givers both at home as well as in institutions. Here we argue that in the changing social and family structure the issue of elder abuse has varying degrees, ranging from neglect to severe physical abuse. We combine two studies: first in-depth interviews with older men and their care-givers, collected from homes as well as old-age institutions in Delhi and Kolkata. Second, we examine the abuse and neglect faced by men and women currently living in institutions in Kottayam, Kerala. This chapter aims to explain how these varying degrees of elder abuse and neglect have affected the living arrangements and everyday care of the older men and women.
We would like to thank the participants of the project, older men, women and their care-providers, for their time and for sharing their views on care practices. We are also thankful to Shinjini, Rupsa and Dipankar for transcribing and translating the data. This chapter was written within the Indian-European research networking grant: Ageing and well-being in a globalising world (NWO 465-11-009), funded by NWO-ESRC-ICSSR. The participating institutions include the Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore; the Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum; the Population Research Centre, University of Groningen, The Netherlands; and the University of Southampton, United Kingdom.
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