Elder Abuse Among Indian Diaspora in USA: Issues and Problems By Prof. P.K. Mishra held on 18 August 2012.




"Elder Abuse Among Indian Diaspora in USA: Issues and Problems" By Prof. P.K. Mishra


The seminar was conducted by GRFDT on 18th August, 2012 on the topic “Elderly Abuse Among Indian Diaspora : Problems and Issues” by Prof. Pramod Mishra. This session was commenced with a welcome note by Mr. Vinod Kumar, Research Scholar, JNU. Prof. Mishra is currently a Professor of International Relations in Ethiopia. He has been working on challenges of the Asian immigrants in general, and that of the East Indian immigrants in particular. In the context of diaspora elders, he explains how the elderly people face different types of problems in developed countries. Firstly, they face the problem of communication gap. Western civilization and the state faces the problem of increasing number of elder abuse, providing more of old age home, care workers etc. Elderly abuse was identified by WHO (2002) which defines it as single or repeated act of inappropriate action occurring in the society where there is expectation of trust which causes harm. Pedmix, Wolf and Loswerg are some of the researchers who found various categories of abuses namely: physical, psychological, financial, passive and active neglect of elder, self neglect, violation of elderly rights and privileges, social, systemic or collective. These problems are not just reported in USA but in many other developed and even developing  countries. one of the steps taken includes adult protection initiatives by the immigrant community and effective legislation by the state. Prof. Mishra even emphasized on the issue of  empowering the elders as one of the important solutions to this problem. This empowerment practice should be the responsibility of the community by providing elders with skills, knowledge and generate options to make concrete decisions. Quoting Neenax (1995), Prof. Mishra talked about empowerment model emphasizing the importance it holds among elders. Prof. Mishra also suggested a need for  proper diagnosis  of various related problems involving health related abuses. Several scholars have advocated the need for  providing more elderly homes, participation of NGOs and  trained  care giver facilities. More and more training to care giving would create a good sense of ethics and human approach to the problem which he terms as ‘care with a smile’. To get this ‘care with a smile’ the care  givers who are basically from developing countries like  India, should also be given incentives for the nature of work, reduction in  working hours to minimize the stress, increase in salary and perks etc. One of the question put forward was regarding the interface between youth and elders. A possible solution  is sending their offsprings regularly  to the home country by the immigrants so that they may learn the culture, ethics and values of Indian society but this again raises the question of what constitutes  the Indian culture? Is there no elderly abuse in Indian society? A study on the home county’s elders’ condition was missing in the presentation/paper. Among all this interesting debate and discussion, the seminar ended with a vote of thanks by Mr. Rakesh Ranjan.



Report by Tasha Agarwal and Pankaj Anand,

School of Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Studies, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi

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Time and Place:

Date:   Friday, Nov 09, 2012
Venue:   Room No 13, CSSS, SSS II, JNU
City/Twon:   New Delhi
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