The COVID-19 Pandemic hit us all around the world when we were least expecting it. People of all ages were severed but the elders were the ones who were at the most risk as stated by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Because the virus and the effects caused by it were unknown it lead to a fear amongst everyone. Also, almost 62% of the elders say that the pandemic increased the risk of abuse faced by them. Many of the senior citizens could not get access to basic medical facilities. Almost 41.8% of the senior citizens were not aware of the vaccines being developed inspite of the first priority given to them by most of the governments.
The most commonly faced abuse was emotional abuse. Emotional or psychological abuse refers to verbal or non verbal behaviour that inflict anguish, mental pain, fear or distress on an older adult. Reports say that about 5% of people aged 60 and above in the country experienced ill-treatment during the past year. At times, the senior citizens were unaware of the fact that they were being emotionally abused.
Many elderly couples had to live together for a long time and this lead to quarrels between them. Some claim that they witnessed a negative side of their own partner during these times which made them emotionally unstable. Increased stress and stubborn attitudes lead to disagreements between them which weakened the balance of the relationship. Living in a society where the reputation of an individual is perhaps the most important factor, the partner who faced emotional abuse did not report it publicly and in some cases they were not even aware of the fact that it is wrong to tolerate so. The constant neglecting and disrespect lead to their own downfall and they remained unhinged as to why this was happening.
Also, the senior citizens were insulted, neglected and were made to work forcefully in their own houses by their own family members. As the reports say, that during the lockdown with all the family members locked up in the house all the time, the sons or daughter-in-laws would abuse them verbally, disrespect them, leading to depression among many.They also could not seek help from outside and had to adjust in the same living situation. The effects were also seen in the old age homes, the regular personnel appointed were not available and their replacements created an unhealthy and uncomfortable atmosphere where in the senior citizens felt unsafe, disrespected and helpless.
With increasing periods of lockdown, the senior citizens felt lonely as their family members could not visit them and provide them assistance and the neighbours or society members would neglect helping them. Many elders even claim that they were without essentials for days as they could not do the simplest tasks like standing in long lines due to old age and the problems associated with it.
The financial violence also increased as many people went jobless and could not provide for themselves. Also many people could not physically hand over money to their parents or elderly members of the family so virtual transactions was the only way possible. But most of the elders were not adapted to the technology and could not get access to the money sent.The old aged stuck at their work place during Pandemic, like old watchmen’s at the societies also faced a lot of violence financially, as the societies did not pay them and they were made to live on their own and were avoided. They had to live in their small cabins looking for accommodations and fulfilling basic requirements like food and healthcare. Being financially exhausted, they could not contact their family members who were in villages and this made them emotionally weak and lonely. Being stuck at their work place, they had to guard the society and had to do all sorts of extra work that the society put on them. Senior citizens working as domestic helpers were stuck at their work place that is their employer’s house, where they had to work all the time as they were available round the clock which led to exertion.
The elders who had the privilege of hospital care also suffered because the hands of the hospital staff were occupied with COVID-19 patients, it was difficult for them to provide full time care and support to the elderly who were admitted due to non-covid reasons.
Taking into consideration all of these circumstances and making sure none of these adverse situations arise in the future, we as a community need to come together and find concrete solutions and preventions. A stronger network can be built between the NGO’s and the senior citizens enabling them to contact the volunteers in case of emergencies like emotional, physical or financial violence. A well equipped and rapid healthcare should be provided for the elderly and keeping in mind the emergency conditions it should also be easily accessible. For the senior citizens who live alone a care taker or some governance can be appointed to ensure their needs and safety.
Financial help can be provided to the ones who do not have immediate family for support during the Pandemic.
Even after all of this, the one’s who survived came back stronger and let us make sure that such violence can be avoided or prevented in the future.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.
If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at email@example.com
We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.
We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge