Theorizing Elder Abuse in the Indian Context

  • A. M. Khan
  • Nasir Ahmad Bhat


Elder abuse has emerged as a serious human rights issue. It challenges the social, moral and cultural ethos of elderly care. Longevity of life is not free from adversities of ageing due to unprecedented changes in the family as a foundation of elderly care. The structural and functional changes in the family are adversely affecting the ‘web of elderly care’. The studies of inter-generation gaps are testimony to this. Conflicting relations between young and older people encourage elderly abuse in the form of negligence, indifference, lack of social and emotional support, negatively and economic insecurity, quarrels and poor medical care. All these determinants contribute to elder abuse, from mild cases to severe ones. Physical abuse is a severe form of elder abuse; it is an offence. Other form of abuse, such as medical-care abuse, cannot only be dealt with in legal terms. Elderly abuse in the Indian context appears to be non-fulfilment of expectations which elderly people have developed during their prime about their care during old age. The care of the elderly is adversely affected on account of larger differences between young and old. The scarcity of family care-givers, resource crunch, and a tremendous deterioration in the ‘cultural ethos of elderly care’ are reflected in abuse of the elderly. It can be dealt with only when several social, political and developmental interventions are initiated along with legal and human-rights interventions. General perception that fault in care of elderly lies into young is just apprehension. Elderly expected to get care as they envisage in the prime age remain a measure cause of quarrel and conflict. They need to be sensitized and oriented to reset the expectorations of care as per existing reality. This will strengthen bind between young and old.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Jawaharlal Nehru Studies CenterNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyJamia Millia IslamiaNew DelhiIndia

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