Invisible Suffering of Elderly People Among Families in Kerala: Neglect and Abuse
Kerala, the leading state in population ageing in India (Census 2011) is not free from elder abuse. One ironical situation at this point is that elderly people suffer not only from members who are outside their family but also in their own homes from family members inflicting harassment, torture, and other types of ill-treatment. In this context, it is very important to understand the multiple aspects of this problem. This chapter is such an attempt which tries to examine the risk factors leading to elder neglect and abuse within the family. It also tries to discover the relationship of the abuser with the elderly victim. Attempts have also been made to understand the forms of elder abuse. The consequences of elder abuse by a family member are also studied here. As this study will show, risk factors for elder abuse operate at multiple levels. Elder abuse and neglect may take various forms ranging from mere verbal abuse to physical and mental torture and exploitation. In many cases reported in the study, instances of discourteous conduct towards elderly people come especially from their own children, children-in-law and grandchildren. Elderly people who fall victim to abuse, neglect and abandonment not only suffer from the visible or audible forms of pain infliction but also carry a sense of mental distress with them. Some after-effects of elder abuse are quite intense and stay with elderly people till their last breath.
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