The problems are categorized into 5: Physiological, Psychological, Social, Emotional and Financial.
- Physiological Problems:
- Psychological Problems:
Old age is a period of physical decline. Due to the loss of teeth, the jaw becomes smaller and they find it very difficult to chew and there is a problem in speech due to which the matter is not conveyed properly. The eyes seem dull and lusterless and they often have a watery look due to the poor functioning of the tear glands. There is slow functioning of organs which leads them to do their work very slowly. The ears and eyes are greatly affected by the changes in the nervous system. Due to their age they have a dull vision and also the eyes seems to be tearful.
Mental disorders are very much associated with old age. Older people are susceptible to psychotic depressions. The two major psychotic disorders of older people are senile dementia (associated with cerebral atrophy and degeneration) and psychosis with cerebral arterio sclerosis (associated with either blocking or ruptures in the cerebral arteries). It has been observed that these two disorders account for approximately 80% of the psychotic disorders among older people in the civilized societies.
- Senile Dementia: older people suffer from senile dementia. They develop symptoms like poor memory, intolerance of change, disorientation, rest lessens, insomnia, failure of judgement, a gradual formation of delusion and hallucinations, extreme-mental depression and agitation, severe mental clouding in which the individual becomes restless, combative, resistive and incoherent. In extreme cases the patient become bed ridden and resistance to disease is lowered resulting in his days being numbered.
- Psychosis with cerebral Arteriosclerosis: This is accompanied by physiological symptoms such as acute indigestion, unsteadiness in gait, small strokes resulting in cumulative brain damage and gradual personality change. Conclusive seizures are relatively common. This is also associated with symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, dizziness, headache, depression, memory defect, periods of confusion, lowered efficiency in work, heightened irritability and tendency to be suspicious about trivial matters. Forgetfulness is one of the main psychological problems of old age. General intelligence and independent creative thinking are usually affected in old age.
They become dependent due to the decline in mental ability. In making decision or judgments their trust is lost over themselves, but to have control over the younger ones they usually do not show this mistrust. They usually want them to be kept informed and to involve in the business and family issues. They always want the younger ones to take their advice and suggestion, but due to generation gap the younger ones do not respect their suggestion this makes them feel deprived of dignity and respect which in turn leads to emotional problems like depression. Loss of spouse during old age is another hazard. Death of a spouse creates a feeling of loneliness and isolation. The negligence and indifferent attitude of the family members towards the older people creates more emotional problems.
With age older people suffer social losses. Their social life is narrowed down by loss of work, death of friends and spouses, and this restricts their participation in social activities. The center of their social life is their home, which gets confined to the interpersonal relationship with the family members. They suffer from loneliness due to the loss of most of the social activities which was once performed by them.
Ageing results in retirement from work. Due to retirement from work there is a loss of income. The cost is living is gradually becoming high and the pension that they receive is usually inadequate to look through their own needs. With the reduced income they are reversed from the state of “Chief bread winner to a mere dependent” though they spend their provident fund on marriages of children, acquiring new property, education of children and family maintenance. Mostly elderly people suffer from some kind of disease, this again results in financial problem because the medicines become essential for them to lead their life.
Elderly abuse in India:
The mistreatment or exploitation of the senior citizens is known as elderly abuse. It can take place in many different forms. It ranges from physical harm to the use of elderly to gain their financial resources or other valuable materials from them. The main types of abuse are:
Physical force entails the use of physical force which may result in injury. The common forms include pinching, kicking, hitting, beating, smashing, striking and burning. Senior citizens have a very soft skin and due to these physical forces they are easily injured.
Emotional/ Psychological Abuse:
It is the act of causing emotional pain to the senior citizens. It is generally verbal, but it may also be due to isolation of the person from the other family members.
Any non- consensual contact with an elderly person is considered as sexual abuse. Common forms of sexual abuse include unwanted touching, sexual explicit photographing, forced nudity, and all types of sexual assault.
Usually the elderly needs an extra care from others, neglect includes the failure of the caregiver to provide the needed care for the elderly. It may be intentional failure or becomes unable to provide care due to many reasons.
Financial or material exploitation:
This kind of abuse include fraud, theft or other method to use the financial resources or the materials from the senior citizen. The senior citizens are exploited and their resources are made of use by others.