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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 78-79

Expanding the range of interventions to prevent and effectively respond to the social problem of elder abuse

Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication27-Jun-2018

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jgmh.jgmh_20_17

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Expanding the range of interventions to prevent and effectively respond to the social problem of elder abuse. J Geriatr Ment Health 2018;5:78-9

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Expanding the range of interventions to prevent and effectively respond to the social problem of elder abuse. J Geriatr Ment Health [serial online] 2018 [cited 2023 Feb 2];5:78-9. Available from:


Elder abuse refers to an act resulting in harm or suffering to an elderly individual and is a form of violation of human rights.[1],[2] This can assume many forms such as physical-sexual-psychological-emotional abuse, monetary abuse, desertion, neglect, and significant damage to self-respect and honor.[1] It has been acknowledged as an important public health concern, predominantly because of its magnitude and impact which it has on various domains of lives (physical or psychological) of elderly people.[1],[2],[3] In fact, the available estimates from a systematic review suggest that close to 16% of elderly were exposed to some kind of abuse last year.[4] The findings of study across eight different cities of India indicated that 22% of the elderly were exposed to some form of abuse, with verbal abuse being the most common abuse faced by people from lower socioeconomic strata.[5] In addition, 98% of the elderly who encountered an episode of abuse did not report the same to the authorities.[5]

Moreover, considering that the proportion of elderly people is expected to increase up to 2 billion by the year 2050, likewise the incidence of elder abuse is also expected to increase (more than 300 million victims), it is high time that adequate measures are taken to respond to the same.[1],[3],[4] Despite the rising incidence and associated long-term health consequences, it still remains a taboo topic with minimal awareness and is one of the least investigated types of violence with almost no national strategies to effectively respond.[4] Furthermore, it is very rarely discussed among policymakers and is hardly given priority even for the research.[3]

Acknowledging the importance of the issue in the current setup, the World Health Assembly formulated and adopted a strategy and an action plan to improve the health standards of the elderly worldwide.[3] This strategy is in accordance with the accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals and provides a road map for nations to implement synchronized measures for the prevention of elder abuse.[1] In fact, the World Health Organization and other stakeholders have expressed their interest to work in collaboration and are aiming to recognize, quantify, and effectively respond to the problem.[3]

The proposed plan is to gather evidence about the scope and forms of elder abuse in heterogeneous settings, especially in developing nations with minimal available data; formulate instructions to prevent similar episodes and strengthen the response against the same; distribute information to various nations and support policymakers to prevent elder abuse; and develop liaison with international organizations to streamline the prevention actions.[1],[3],[4],[5],[6]

Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 is a legislation to ensure effective welfare of parents and senior citizens above 60 years of age.[5] This act states that children should take care of their senior parents and are entitled for legal actions if they falter in that regard.[5] Further, to gain more attention from the different stakeholders and to augment the awareness about the same among people, each year, June 15 has been identified as Elder Abuse Awareness Day globally.[1] This day remains a symbol, when the entire world joins their hands and calls for bringing an end to the abuse and suffering caused to people from older generations.[1]

In conclusion, it is the responsibility of the national government to protect the elderly people from any form of abuse, and thus, there is a definitive need to be well prepared to respond to this social challenge, by not only preventing it but even by implementing appropriate corrective measures in various settings.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

World Health Organization. Elder Abuse-Fact Sheet No. 357. 2017. Available from: [Last accessed on 2017 Jun 29].  Back to cited text no. 1
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Health-care of elderly: Determinants, needs and services. Int J Prev Med 2013;4:1224-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
World Health Organization. Abuse of older people on the rise – 1 in 6 affected; 2017. Available from: [Last accessed on 2017 Jun 30].  Back to cited text no. 3
Yon Y, Mikton CR, Gassoumis ZD, Wilber KH. Elder abuse prevalence in community settings: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Glob Health 2017;5:e147-56.  Back to cited text no. 4
Helpage India. A Report on Elder Abuse & Crime in India; 2013. Available from: [Last accessed on 2017 Jul 26].  Back to cited text no. 5
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Elder abuse: Working together to ensure healthy, meaningful, and dignified life. J Res Med Sci 2016;21:13.  Back to cited text no. 6
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