Stories of Change

Stories of Lives Changed

Mrs. Sabina Malik, 72yrs, used to live with her elder son Mr. Abdullah in Bangalore. One fine day, one of their neighbours called Mrs. Sabina’s daughter and informed that her mother was facing abuse and harassment at home. He also informed that her son had locked her up in a room and provided her only with minimal food. Upon hearing this, Mrs. Sabina’s daughter went to her brother’s house and got mother to Nightingales Center and left without informing the staff that she will not be returning.

In spite of all this, Mrs. Sabina was unwilling to share her son or daughter’s contact information with the Helpline staff but after much persistence, she gave in. When her son came to the Helpline with his wife, He expressed the problem faced by them due to his mother’s behavior at home. He confessed that he used to tie his mother’s hands and legs and provide her with necessities in the room itself. His explanation for the house arrest was that he did not want his mother to disturb the neighbours.

Upon hearing both sides of the story, Nightingales Elders Helpline staff called all her children to the Helpline to resolve the issue and hand over the responsibility of the mother to them. However, none of them were willing to keep their mother with them. The Helpline staff came up with the conclusion that both the sons should share the responsibility of taking care of the mother which includes medical expenses and giving her the right to choose which child she wants to live with. The daughter was also advised to frequently visit her mother and take care of her. Once the issue was resolved by the Helpline, we made frequent calls to Mrs. Sabina Malik to ensure things were better at home and indeed, they were.

Mrs. Leela Singh, 87 yrs., had been subjected to high degree of mental torture by her husband, Mr. Kushwant Singh, 90, a retired military Colonel. According to the stated incidents, he used to confine his wife to their house and not let her meet their children or grandchildren. He was so selfish that each time their grandchildren were home, he would ask his son to pay for groceries for that period. Although he never physically harmed his wife, he used to harass her by pretending to hit her, slamming the door hard to scare her apart from other indirect violent acts. If the victim tried to call her son through the phone, he tortured her by putting allegations that she is cheating on him with another man. Mrs. Leela Singh underwent the emotional distress for quite some time before approaching the Nightingales Elders Helpline for assistance. The Helpline staff counseled Mr. Kushwant Singh and told him to not repeat such acts causing emotional distress to his wife. Frequent calls and follow ups ensured that the issue was resolved.

Mrs. Laxmi, 78 yrs., visited the Nightingales Elders Helpline a few months ago requesting the staff to help her get a separate house to live in or admit her to an old age home as she was unable to bear the torture given to her by her daughter-in–law. According to the victim, the daughter-in–law would abuse her mother-in–law both physically and mentally. She even threatened to commit suicide and blame it on the mother-in-law if she ever tried to argue with her or go to the police for help. Mrs. Laxmi’s son supported his wife and asked his mother to adjust. Mrs. Laxmi eventually gave in as she was tired of the daily drama and decided to start working in the neighborhood so that she would have to spend lesser time at home. But she was still subjected to abuse and threats when she returned home from work.

When the Helpline staff counseled the couple, they gave them two options. Either they could keep her separately in another house and take care of all her expenses, or rectify their behavior and establish a peaceful co-existence .Initially the couple kept their mother separately in another house but as the expenses grew; her son was unable to handle it. Now, months Mrs. Laxmi has been living with her son and daughter-in– law without any incidents of torture or harassment.

82 year old Shivaiah had been staying along with his wife in a rented house. However, as he and his wife grew older and came across health concerns, they decided to move in with their son. They spoke to their son and moved in with their son’s family along with all their possessions and savings.

A few months later, they felt that their freedom had been curtailed and moving in with their son was not a right decision, and so they decided to move out. They found a rented house and moved there, leaving all their belongings with their son. Once they had settled into their new home, they requested their son to return their valuables, ornaments and cash which they had taken with them when they moved to their son’s house. To their shock and surprise, their son refused to return their valuables. The elderly couple tried to take the help of relatives and friends to intervene, but to no avail.

With no other help in sight, Mr Shivaiah walked into the Elders Helpline office in March 2021 and registered a complaint against his son who was reluctant to return his wife's ornaments amounting to a few lakhs, along with some household Items.

The Helpline staff spoke to the son and counselled him on the rights of the elderly. After some persuasion his son agreed to return all the items in the presence of the counselor at the Helpline office.  

84 year old Mrs Shanthamma walked into the Helpline and gave a complaint against a prominent Health Insurance Company for delay in reimbursing the amount paid by her during her hospitalization.

Shanthamma had been hospitalized for the treatment of a minor injury due to a fall. After the discharge she had submitted the discharge summary and bills for reimbursement. But after following up with the company through phone calls and visits, she was told that some of the papers are missing, and hence they will not be able to process her file. She was asked to submit all the documents again, and she did the same. Even after submitting the documents again, she had to follow up with them, with no proper response. In frustration, she registered a complaint at the Elders Helpline.

The Helpline staff called the management at the said Health Insurance Company and discussed about the complaint received. Officers from the company responded to the call and visited the Elders Helpline & appraised the Helpline staff that Mrs Shanthamma has not submitted 2 original bills, and therefore the case was kept pending. The Helpline Staff shared she had submitted all the bills but the Company staff had misplaced her papers. Following this intervention, Mrs Shanthamma gave an undertaking stating that she had submitted all the documents from her side. This letter was sent to the Company through the Helpline. It needed a few more follow-ups, but Mrs Shanthamma eventually received full reimbursement.  

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