Social media connects but also contributes to neglect of elderly
New Delhi: Smartphones may have brought families closer — but they’ve also left the elderly feeling isolated as millennials spend hours online and have little time for real-world conversations. Close to 80% of senior citizens say that social media has cut into the time family members have for them, which they consider disrespectful and a form of neglect.
A HelpAge India study ahead of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day reveals that neglect is one of the most common forms of elder abuse. The study is based on a sample survey of 5,014 elders across 23 cities.
A quarter of respondents said they’d faced some sort of elder abuse for at least five years. Some of the most common forms of abuse they experienced were disrespect, verbal abuse and neglect. Around 70% of respondents said that social media had benefitted them, but 78% also said that it had decreased personal time spent with family.
Over 90% of elderly users use social media to connect. Over 60% said social media has reduced their sleep hours, and increased economic loss via blackmail and spam calls.
“While technology is good, it has an adverse impact on the lives of the elderly. We are running a campaign to urge young adults to disconnect from devices and connect with an older person in the same house...,” Mathew Cherian, CEO, HelpAge India, said.
The maximum cases of elder abuse were reported in Mangaluru, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Amritsar, Delhi and Kanpur, and the least in Jammu, Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Kochi and Guwahati.