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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Vital Statistics of Senior Citizens & Elder Abuse in India

Aged as per 2001 Census

Elderly Population 7, 66, 22,321: 7.5% of Total population (76 million)

Aged Male 37,768,327: 7.1% of total population (37 million)

Aged Female 38,853,994: 7.8% of total population (38 million)

General population in Rural 72.2% People in Urban 27.8% as on 2001

According to UN urban population in India will increase from 30 % in 2010 to more than 50 % by 2045.

Projected Elderly Population in 2008 @ average 7.5% will be 8, 60, 75, 775 (86 million)

According to UN by 2050, nearly 20% of India’s population will comprise of people over the age of 60 years

Elder Population in Maharashtra state as on 2001

Total Population: 96,878,627 (9 million)

Male: 50,400,596

Female: 46,478,031

Population of above 60 yrs. at National Average of 7.5%: 72, 65,897

According to UNICEF Life expectancy in India

In 1970 49 yrs

In 1990 58 yrs

In 2005 64 yrs

In 2008 68.6 yrs

According to UN Global life expectancy at birth, which is estimated to have risen from 46 years in 1950-1955 to 65 years in 2000-2005, is expected to keep on rising to reach 75 years in 2045-2050.

In developed countries, 20 per cent of today’s population is aged 60 years or over, and by 2050 that proportion is projected to be 32 per cent. And by 2050 there will be two elderly persons for every child.

According to World Life Expectancy.Com as on 2008 Global Life Expectancy:

India 68.6

USA 78

Australia 80.6

South Africa 42.5

China 72.9

Russia 65.9

Saudi Arabia 75.9

UK 78.8

France 80.6

Fact about Elder Abuse

Types of Elder Abuse:


Physical Abuse

Financial/Material Exploitation




According to pan-Indian surveys, 30% of elderly subject to some form of abuse.

According to a rough estimate, nearly 40 % of older people living with their families are reportedly facing abuse of one kind or another, but only 1 in 6 cases actually comes to light (Helpage India website).

Studies conducted recently among old people show that over 35 per cent of the elderly in urban areas and 32 per cent in rural areas live alone.

Loneliness was, in fact, a common refrain among the elderly from all regions.

Apart from the social and health problems, what also troubles the elderly -- especially in cosmopolitan areas -- is lack of safety and security.

Overall, 500 murders of senior citizens were committed in Delhi in 2005, 511 in 2004, and 547 in 2002.

According to HelpAge India, most elders are ill-treated by their own children, who have emerged as the largest group of perpetrators at 47.3 per cent. Spouses follow next at 19.3 per cent. Other relatives and grandchildren follow at 8.8 per cent and 8.6 per cent respectively.

Neglect is the most common form of abuse at 48.7 per cent followed by emotional/psychological, financial exploitation physical abuse and abandonment respectively.

There is growing number of insecurity, injustice and abuse in Elderly in India.

No specific Law in India for Elder Abuse but there are some Laws that can protect Seniors:

  1. Parents cannot be evicted without the due process of law, if they have been staying there from before.
  2. There are number of enactment’s which can be applied. Firstly, under Section 125 CrPC, a magistrate can order the child to maintain his old parents.
  3. Secondly, Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act says an aged parent can demand maintenance from the same way a wife can demand from her husband.
  4. Also, the Domestic Violence Act provides parents with the Rights to seek relief.
  5. Maintenance of Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill , Dec 2007 , in this parents can demand maintenance up to Rs.10,000 per month

Each case is a story of abandonment, harassment and torture. Each case reveals glaring violations of HUMAN RIGHTS of the old and the infirm. Each case shows how one’s own children can commit such INHUMAN Acts.

Though Elder Abuse can have perpetrators outside one’s own family too… but then the majority of cases happen when the elderly people’s own family is not treating them well.

Elder abuse as a social problem remains hidden.

Elder Abuse is a frightening reality that is destroying many lives.

Elder Abuse is often so subtle and difficult to recognize that in India, we do not even perceive certain acts as Elder Abuse.

Sailesh Mishra

Founder President

Silver Inning Foundation


References: Helpage India, INPEA, Understanding Elder Abuse by Rajul Mehta

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