ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Proposing a Bioecological Framework for Elder Abuse in India

Elder abuse is a documented issue around the world. India is no exception. Abuse in older adults is associated with significant increase in emergency department usage, hospitalisation, dementia and depression. An abused elder has a threefold higher risk of death. Nevertheless, elder abuse is ill defined, understudied and underreported. Concepts of elder abuse developed in Western contexts are difficult to generalise to the widely varying contexts of India. This article proposes a framework to study and theorise elder abuse in India. The proposed framework is based on the bioecological systems theory. The article aims to facilitate identification of elder abuse and stimulate discussion around this grave yet neglected issue in care of older adults in India.


In September 1975, the British Medical Journal published G R Burston’s letter on what he called “granny battering.” Burston describes the deliberate assaults on old people he sees in his clinic. He regrets the evident abuse as

a manifestation of the inadequate care we (doctors and other healthcare workers) as a profession give to elderly patients and their relatives who are left with the task of coping with them unaided and unsupported by us. (Burston 1975)

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Updated On : 2nd May, 2021
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