So­cial me­dia con­nects but also con­trib­utes to ne­glect of el­derly

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - Tulika.Rat­tan@ times­

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.

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