Elder abuse can be defined as an act intended to harm an older person by way of physical, emotional or psychological, mental, sexual, neglect or financial distress. Elder abuse includes harmful acts committed by close family, known relatives, friends, neighbours and paid caregivers. Abuse of elders takes many different forms, some involving intimidation or threats against the elderly or physical assault, some involving neglect, and others involving financial exploitation.
According to the World Health Organization, elder abuse is a problem that exists in both developing and developed countries, yet is typically under-reported globally. Until recently, this serious social problem was hidden from the public view and considered mostly a private matter. Even today, elder abuse continues to be a taboo, mostly underestimated and ignored by societies across the world.
There is a need to create awareness about the presence of elder abuse in our society, address the problems of abuse and to make the public aware of remedial measures that could be taken by the abused. As of July 2015, it was found that over 65% of elderly in India face abuse of some sort.
Elderline - Karnataka - Recognizing the work of Nightingales Medical Trust in tacking Elder Abuse in Bangalore through the Elders Helpline 1090, the Government of India, through the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the National Institute of Social Defence has selected Nightingales Medical Trust to run the Karnataka wing of the National Helpline for Senior Citizens. A technology-enabled central office with a 10 seater call centre handles all the calls through the toll-free number 14567. Regional officers at various districts of Karnataka tackle issues at the ground level and ensure that elders are free to live a life of dignity, free from abuse.