New Delhi, Jun 16 (PTI) Champiya, who is in her late 80s, does not fear COVID-19.
She says years of mental torture and physical abuse by her children have prepared her to deal with "anything in life".
This World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, elderly like Champiya recall the trauma they went through before parting ways with their loved ones.
"Once, one of my sons slapped me so hard I couldn''t hear from one ear. I still remember one night he pulled me out of my room by my hair and kept hitting me," the resident of Mann ka Tilak old age home in Delhi recalled.
"I only knew that time was passing because I saw the Sun rising," she said.
After ages of torture and abuse, Champiyas''s youngest grand-daughter rescued her and brought her to the old age home. "Now I don''t fear anything in life, not even the dreaded coronavirus," she said.
Shabana (name changed), 78, lives alone in a one-bedroom apartment in Noida. She lived with her son earlier but decided to move out after the abuse started.
"It was first neglect then verbal abuse. But when they stopped giving me food and asked me to fend for myself, I knew I should leave," she said.
Shabana said her late husband had left some money for her with which she bought a home for herself. For the past 10 years, she has been living alone and surviving on his pension.
Rukmanni, who is in her 70s, recalls how she would sit near the phone in an old age home, day after day waiting for her son''s call, which never came.
"I stayed with my youngest son, but he struggled to find a job. Finally, he admitted to me that he could not afford to take care of me, and he had to send me away.
"Overnight, my world was turned upside down, I begged and pleaded with him, told him that I would do anything but he refused to listen and dropped me at an old age home," she said.
Rajesh (name changed) was thrown out on the streets by his son on a cold December night.
He now lives with his sister, but says he still gets nightmares of getting hit by his son frequently.
"I just had one son and after my wife died there was no use of me. I tried to show him that I can be productive by doing household chores but that was not satisfactory for him and his wife and they threw me out one day. Since then I moved in with my sister," he said.
He hopes that no one goes through the trauma he underwent and people become more compassionate towards their old parents.
"They should remember that we were the ones who taught them to walk and try to be patient with us," he said.
According to psychiatrist Rabia Hasan, it is often seen that even if the elderly do not undergo extreme abuse, there is a form of neglect and ignorance which affects most of them.
"With nuclear lives becoming predominant, it has been seen that old parents feel they have been left behind. Many of them feel ignored," she said.
Hasan advised people to make efforts to engage their old parents in their day to day lives that will give them a feeling of being relevant.
Sonali Sharma, head of communications at HelpAge India, said there is no excuse for neglecting or abusing one''s parents.
"When we were young, our parents would very patiently answer all our questions but this generation does not understand that. There is a constant feeling of disrespect and neglect that older people face today," she said.
Noting that neglect, verbal abuse and isolation are the three top forms of abuse that elderly suffer from, Sharma said it has been seen that the main abusers are their own children, either sons or daughter-in laws.
"We tell a couple of things to both generations -- to older people we tell that there is maintenance act (Maintenance and Welfare of Senior Citizens Act, 2007) under which if you do not look after your parents then you can be jailed and you can be fined so this is a legal tool that can be used by elderly and we sensitize them to use it to protect themselves," she said.
"Secondly, we tell them that no matter how much ever you love your child please do not give them everything through your will till you are alive. We tell them to retain hold and power in their hands so we tell them that do not give your core economic strength to your caretaker," she said.
Moreover, she said elderly need to become independent digitally.
"There is a huge digital divide between the abuser and the abused so we keep telling older people that you need to become independent and not depend on your child for everything. We conduct digital literacy classes for basic digital empowerment of elderly," she added. PTI UZM DPB DPB
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI