While over 66.6% of the 2,513 elderly surveyed in household settings had at least received one dose of the vaccine, a significant 39.4% are yet to be vaccinated.
Of those surveyed, 20.8% reported to have lost either their family members or friends due to Covid-19. When asked what could have been done to save their lives, almost half (50.8%) called for better health infrastructure, 44.4% said availability of vaccine and 38.7% said availability of medicines on time.
A significant 77.5% elders were aware of Covid appropriate behaviour to avoid getting infected. These findings are part of the report “Silent Tormentor: Covid 19 & the Elderly” by HelpAge India that highlights a wide range of concerns on “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day’ observed every year on June 15.
The survey was carried out between April and June across six cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. 72.2% males and 27.8% females participated with about 85% of the respondents were in the age group 60– 69 years.
The ill-treatment of the elderly by their own relatives and caregivers is both shameful and horrifying. The government as well as experts dealing with elderly care must come up with ways and means to ensure that such acts are minimized.
However, the report expressed concern over misinformation about vaccination that most elders had. Nearly 61.2% of felt that they will be completely immune to the disease after taking the vaccination. “This not only will urge them to throw caution to the wind, but also put those around them susceptible to the virus if Covid appropriate behaviours are not followed,” the report stated.
The data shows that over two-fifth (41.8%) of the respondents expressed lack of awareness about any vaccines developed to stop the spread of Covid-19 infection. Amongst those who are aware of the vaccine, the primary benefits reported include ‘being completely immune to Covid-19’ (61.2%) and ‘decrease in the severity of the disease’ (50.6%). Among the cities, some of the respondents saw no benefits in getting vaccinated (Delhi – 14.3% and Chennai – 13.1%).
The report goes on to point that 62.1% elderlies felt that during Covid-19 pandemic the risk of getting abused has inthat most elders had. Nearly 61.2% of felt that they will be completely immune to the disease after taking the vaccination. “This not only will urge them to throw caution to the wind, but also put those around them susceptible to the virus if Covid appropriate behaviours are not followed,” the report stated.
The report also highlights the loneliness even as families are in “work from home” mode. Despite living in close proximity, 20.5% elders living with members working or studying from home wanted someone to just be with them, and 35.7% elders wanted someone to just call them on phone and speak to them. Nearly, 13.7% felt trapped and frustrated.