The reduction in fertility level, reinforced by steady increase in the life expectancy has produced fundamental changes in the age structure of the population, which in turn leads to the aging population. The analysis of historical patterns of mortality and fertility decline in India indicates that the process of population aging intensified only in the1990 s. The older population of India, which was 56.7 million in 1991, is 72 million in 2001 and is expected to grow to 137 million by 2021. Today India is home to one out of every ten senior citizens of the world.
Today India is home to one out of every ten senior citizens of the world. The data on old age dependency ratio is slowly increasing in both rural and urban areas. Both for men and women, this figure is quite higher in rural areas when compared with that of urban areas. The challenge of caring for a growing number of elderly is yet to be faced squarely. As people grow older, especially in developing countries like India, they encounter several problems. Some are physical and obviously age related. Some are due to the social structure break up of joint family system, poverty, loss of employment, widowhood.
Some emotional problems like loss of self - esteem, lowered life satisfaction, dependence and depression, feeling of being ignored by family members. All sorts of abuses such as: mal- treatment and physically, vocally and mental torture etc. Elder abuse is increasingly understood to be a serious public health challenge for the 21st century.
The advent of modernization, industrialization, urbanization, occupational differentiation, education, and growth of individual philosophy has eroded the traditional values that vested authority with elderly.Elder abuse involves a violation of the fundamental human right to safety and can include neglect, physical abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse. With an aging world population, the incidence of elder abuse is likely to increase dramatically.