Helpline & Counselling

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Helpline & Counselling

Dignity Foundation’s PAN INDIA Number

for Senior Citizens (above 60 years) to:

Report Elder Abuse

Avail trustworthy information

Get first-cut legal advice

Request for counselling for reducing stress

Join Loneliness Mitigation Centres (online)

Plus, to avail many more services across 6 cities in India:
Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata & Pune.

For many senior citizens the problems of life begin at home. Elder abuse can be in the form of physical abuse, psychological abuse, economic abuse and neglect & isolation. The biggest challenge with elder abuse is that it is usually hidden. A sense of fear that they may be abused more if they speak up leads to elder abuse being hidden. Hence empowering senior citizens is the most effective tool in the response to elder abuse. A Helpline for senior citizens enables them to reach out for help and assistance against abuse. It is also helpful in information dissemination thus creating awareness amongst senior citizens in a number of matters. Dignity Foundation has been running this Helpline since 1995. The Helpline programme operates in all the five cities – Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai and New Delhi.

We deal with 2400 cases a year in Mumbai alone, and our chapters deal with approximately 1400 cases a year.

The nature of cases handled by the Helpline are as follows :

Loneliness and how to cope with it

Negotiation in disputes within the family and outside

Elder abuse and ways to resolve them

Writing of Will and making it a legally valid document

Elders’ inability to move around in a city in search of treatment and doctors

Total feeling of insecurity, doubt, fear and helplessness and not having anyone else to depend on

Information on old age homes, medical devices, attendant / maid agencies, etc.

Distress calls from elders seeking assistance are handled by a qualified social worker. Everyday the Helplines across 5 cities receives 25-30 calls of elders who are being abused, harassed, neglected, or denied their rights or looking out for trusted information.

Volunteers trained in basic counselling are sent to the senior citizen's residence on a fact-finding mission. Thereafter, appropriate assistance is provided to the aggrieved caller. At times specific assistance are required for an effective and speedy redressal of grievances. Dignity has a panel of experts in each of the 5 cities to address these issues. The experts include lawyers, psychologists, financial advisors and consumer forum experts. Dignity also involves Police in case where it is required to provide protection to the abused elder.

An Abused Elder’s story

Shivaji Kumar Kumble, age 72, lives with his wife and family in a small cramped room in a chawl near Worli. Shivaji and his wife got their only son Nitin married to Vasudha with great aspirations. His son Nitin works at a construction company and their daughter-in-law is the head mistress at a community school. Shivaji and his wife had great expectations from their son and daughter-in-law but soon their troubles started. Nitin got into a drinking habit and started hitting his father on coming home. Under the influence of alcohol he would abuse his father. Their daughter-in-law was also not taking proper care of them.

Shivaji heard about Dignity Foundation through a friend and dropped in at Dignity to ask for help and advice. Shivaji was confused and angry about his situation. In order to solve things amicably, the social worker and volunteer suggested a meeting be arranged with the son and daughter-in-law. They were asked to come meet the social worker at Dignity Foundation.

After repeated attempts, the counseling meeting was finally held and the social worker and volunteer succeeded in bringing some peace in the lives of Shivaji and his wife. They now reside with their son and are being cared for well.