Representative image Photo; Dawn

Half of Guwahati’s elderly residents feel lonely because the attention their family members are diverted to cell phones, internet and social media, reveals a recent survey.

A survey by HelpAge India on the eve of United Nation’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Friday released shows 50 per cent elderly people feel ‘disrespected’ because of ‘extreme attention’ given to phones and computers by their family members.

Guwahati falls among 23 cities where the survey was conducted. Mangalore, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Hyderabad and Amritsar emerged as the cities where maximum number of elderly people said they felt disrespected.

60 per cent of elderly people said the amount of time spent by their adult children with them has decreased with the advent of digital age.

“Though the problem is not as acute as in other cities, the situation in Guwahati is taking an alarming turn. Technology becoming an issue for elderly people is indeed becoming a big challenge and cannot be resolved immediately. We need to educate and sensitize our children in the long run so elderly people do not feel left out because of technology,” HelpAge India’s state head programme, Nilondra Tanya, reports TOI.

The survey, which was conducted among 5014 elders across 23 cities, found that 53 per cent elderly have experienced verbal abuse, 29 per cent have suffered economic exploitations and 11 per cent have suffered assaults in Guwahati.

The survey also found that 61 per cent incidents of abuse were inflicted by their sons, while 24 per cent were inflicted by their daughter-in-laws. Daughters, sons-in-law and spouses each account for 5 per cent of incidents of such abuse.

Among elderly persons, 41 per cent did not report the abuse because they did not know how to deal with the problem, and another 41 per cent did not report the out of their concern for maintaining confidentiality about family.

“Today, the plight of elderly persons in Guwahati is such that their children are leaving them on the city’s streets. Children are too busy now to look after their old parents. We live in a society now where elderly people are lonely and isolated despite their children having progressed in their career,” general secretary of Greater Pragjyotishpur Senior Citizens’ Assoication, Bishnu Ram Boro (67), said.

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