In India, during the last two decades, significant developments in societal responses to address elder abuse have emerged. There is greater emphasis on recognizing that older people may be subjected to abuse and neglect by family members and the community as well. Although there is growing interest in the collection of valid statistics on the incidence and prevalence of elder abuse, there is still a need for bringing better clarity on the conceptual understanding and refining definitions of elder abuse. The government, academic community, and the civil society are working toward understanding the underlying causes of elder abuse and neglect and are focusing on appropriate interventions to address it.
This paper notes the developments in recognizing elder abuse and reviews the responses in addressing the issue from a legal, social, and public health perspective in India compared with some of the Asian countries, namely China, Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. While the paper highlights the Indian experience, it is also put in an Asian context where emerging demographics are raising many concerns related to the aging of the population, and the new dynamics of relationships at the family, community, and societal levels demand fresh approaches and thoughts toward improving the quality of life of older people and reducing their vulnerability toward the risk of abuse and neglect.