Thursday, December 3, 2009

Agency starts campaign against abuse of elders (Mumbai)

Agency starts campaign against abuse of elders
Surekha S / DNA
Tuesday, December 1, 2009 0:05 IST

Mumbai: "Elders are neglected and ill-treated in almost all houses
today," said Vitthal Dalvi, a 73-year-old resident of BDD Chawl,
Parel. "For elders who do not have a pension and are completely
dependent on their children, the difficulties are even more."

According to Alpa Desai, coordinator, the Family Welfare Agency, an
NGO, almost 40% of senior citizens are abused in some way or the other
-- financial, emotional or physical -- but only one in six cases comes
to light. Hence the need was felt to launch a campaign against elder

The city-based agency working with senior citizens and their rights
launched a campaign on November 29. Flagged off at the Nehru Centre,
the campaign saw the presence of VN Deshmukh, retired additional
director general of police, producer/director Kalpana Lajmi and Dr
Parasuraman, director, Tiss. While Deshmukh spoke about the role of
the police in safety of senior citizens, Lajmi stressed about the role
of the media in raising awareness.

There was a campaign poster exhibition at the Warli Hall. In the
coming few weeks, there will be street plays, interactive focus group
discussions and workshops as part of the campaign. "We plan to hold
discussions in different areas of Mumbai and with senior citizens.
Many of them don't talk about it out of fear," said Desai.

Jayashree Patil (name changed) said that she had a very difficult time
with her daughter-in-law. "She would talk roughly to me all the time
and I had to do all my work by myself, including cooking. It was
getting very difficult for me. But after I got to know about FWA, I
gained some confidence.

"The most important thing was knowing that there is someone to support
me. The social workers came to my house and spoke to my
daughter-in-law as well. She is a little more subtle since then. It is
very important for elders to know that such a support system exists."

According to Laxmi Anjarlekar, the problems start after the kids get
married and start families of their own. "They then feel they have
their kids to look after and we amount to unnecessary expenditure,"
said Anjarlekar. "Such campaigns will help as elders will know whom to
approach. No parents want to go to the cops or the court against their
own children. Such organisations provide that support and necessary
counselling as well."


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