Published: 22nd September 2021
Over 75 per cent elderly claim gap between generations rose much rapidly during COVID: Study
The survey findings indicated that the generation gap has widened due to overstretched spells of Coronavirus and related lockdowns
About 75.8 per cent elderly claimed that the gap between generations has increased more rapidly during the past two years due to COVID-19, according to a new study.
Under the study, titled "COVID Impact on the Elderly in India" by the Agewell Foundation, its volunteers spread across the country interacted with 10,000 elderly persons (60-plus) during the month of August-September 2021.
The survey findings indicated that the generation gap has widened due to overstretched spells of Coronavirus and related lockdowns/restrictions like social distancing.
"During the survey, 75.8 per cent elderly respondents claimed that the gap between generations has increased more rapidly during the past two years," the study based upon the survey said.
The study also found that approximately every second elderly (53.4 per cent respondents) claimed that their human rights are affected due to the pandemic and related issues.
"Among them, 81 per cent elderly complained that the ever-widening generation gap is responsible for the poor status of human rights of the elderly," the study said.
The COVID pandemic has imposed many challenges before older people, from social isolation, financial penury, psychological issues to elder abuse and neglect, it noted.
During the survey, 85.4 per cent elderly admitted that they are facing or had to face the COVID-19 situation and related issues, while 77.1 per cent of them admitted that restrictions on social interactional activities were the main reason for widening the generation gap.
About 54.4 per cent elderly said that social distancing within family members/relatives was the main reason for the generation gap, while 52.6 per cent elderly blamed decreased income of elderly and younger family members for this, the study said.
According to 52.8 per cent respondents, increased popularity of online and digital media like smartphones was the main factor responsible for widening the generation gap.
Himanshu Rath, Founder Chairman, Agewell Foundation, said, "The most affected lot because of COVID phenomenon and resultantly ever widening generation gap is the helpless and marginalised older people, who believe in self-denial and silently suffer all indignity/humiliation/isolation.
Since there is no respite yet, older persons need constant assurance of support, help and all kinds of assistance in case of need at all levels.
"Most disturbing impact of increased unemployment was increased dependence on others as per the 20.5 per cent elderly respondents, the study said.
While 16.6 per cent said that due to this they were unable to get proper treatment and regular medicines and 18 per cent respondents said that their grandchildren's education suffered due to joblessness.
Every fifth elderly respondent (21 per cent elderly) claimed that their quality of life has been compromised due to rising inflation and 19 per cent elderly also claimed that they had to compromise with unhealthy or unhygienic conditions due to rising prices.
Based on the interactions and observations, Agewell Foundation recommended that to bridge the gap between generations by promoting and conducting inter-generational bonding programmes and to provide digital training to digitally illiterate elderly to help them remain in the mainstream and connected to the modern digital world.