The situation of elderly in this fast changing world poses challenges to the family, the community and the nation. Recent years have seen a marked increase in the population of the aged. Fading away of the joint family system and changing lifestyle make elders face new challenges every day Many elders are harassed by their own family and deprived of their legitimate rights. Elder abuse is a serious problem which rarely gets reported. Due to their frailness and inability to protect themselves, elderly are an easy target for violence & crime.
The Elders Helpline, a joint effort of the Bangalore City Police & Nightingales Medical Trust was started in April 2002 to reach out to elders in distress. The Helpline strives to ensure a life of dignity and security for elders free from abuse and exploitation.
The Helpline is supported by the Department for the Empowerment of Differently Abled and Senior Citizens, Government of Karnatka.
The services provided at Elders Helpline include providing information of services for Senior Citizens, counselling, reconciliation, legal advice, facilitating police intervention where required, tracing missing elders and rehabilitation and awareness and advocacy for issues affecting the elderly.
Since its inception in 2002 the Elders Helpline 1090, has handled over more than 2.5 Lakh calls. The nature of the complaints received at the Elders Helpline are mainly ill-treatment by family members, financial exploitation, property disputes and cheating by service providers.
More than 10,000 complaints of serious nature were registered with 69% of the complaints being successfully resolved by counsellors and social workers with the support of police and lawyers. Besides the regular services, the Helpline has also taken up several initiatives for the cause of the elderly. The Helpline has come out with 5 publications on useful information for elders, including Old age homes in Bangalore, Concessions available to senior citizens, tips on safety and security for senior citizens etc.
The Helpline took the initiative to make a Draft bill for effective legal protection of elder’s rights along with representatives of 35 NGOs and elders' associations and presented it to law ministry - which gave impetus to the passing of the 'Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Act', 2007.