Abuse of el­derly by own fam­ily on the rise

Irish Independent - - Front Page - Eil­ish O’Regan

THE num­ber of el­derly peo­ple fac­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal and fi­nan­cial ex­ploita­tion at the hands of their own chil­dren is on the rise.

Most sig­nif­i­cant in the forms of abuse pen­sion­ers face is psy­cho­log­i­cal mis­treat­ment, ac­cord­ing to the an­nual re­port of the HSE’s Na­tional Cen­tre for the Pro­tec­tion of Older Peo­ple.

One in five re­ports re­lat­ing to over-65s was about fi­nan­cial abuse, fre­quently com­mit­ted by a son or daugh­ter.

“Al­leged fi­nan­cial abuse and ne­glect in­crease with age, with the high­est level of re­port­ing in those over 80 years,” it re­vealed.

The re­port said that the re­ports of abuse which have been re­ceived only amount to the “tip of the ice­berg”. It said in­ter­na­tional data on the ex­tent of the prob­lem in in­sti­tu­tions such as hos­pi­tals, nurs­ing homes and other fa­cil­i­ties is scarce.

How­ever, re­cent re­views sug­gest elder abuse is higher in in­sti­tu­tional set­tings.

It comes as a new fi­nan­cial guide was launched for older peo­ple ad­vis­ing them how to keep their money safe. In­creas­ing num­bers of the el­derly are fear­ful they will not have enough money in their re­tire­ment, ac­cord­ing to Age Ac­tion.

THE num­ber of el­derly peo­ple sub­jected to ne­glect and psy­cho­log­i­cal and fi­nan­cial ex­ploita­tion at the hands of their own chil­dren is on the rise.

Most sig­nif­i­cant in the forms of abuse pen­sion­ers face is psy­cho­log­i­cal mis­treat­ment, ac­cord­ing to the an­nual re­port of the HSE’s Na­tional Cen­tre for the Pro­tec­tion of Older Peo­ple.

One in five of the re­ports last year related to fi­nan­cial abuse, fre­quently com­mit­ted by a son or daugh­ter.

“Al­leged fi­nan­cial abuse and ne­glect in­crease with age with the high­est level of re­port­ing in those over 80 years,” it re­vealed.

The cen­tre re­ceived 10,118 safe­guard­ing con­cerns about adults last year, a 28pc rise on 2016.

“For peo­ple aged un­der 65 the most sig­nif­i­cant cat­e­gory of al­leged abuse re­mains phys­i­cal abuse at 46pc.”

Women are more likely to be sub­ject to abuse in all ages – but among the over-80s it is three times higher among men.

The re­port said that when it comes to abuse of the el­derly the re­ports only amount to the “tip of the ice­berg”.

It said that in­ter­na­tional data on the ex­tent of the prob­lem in in­sti­tu­tions such as hos­pi­tals, nurs­ing homes and other long-term fa­cil­i­ties are scarce.

How­ever, re­cent re­views sug­gest elder abuse is higher in in­sti­tu­tional set­tings.

This can re­late to poorly trained staff and poli­cies which op­er­ate in the in­ter­est of the in­sti­tu­tion rather than the res­i­dents.

It comes as a new fi­nan­cial guide was launched for older peo­ple ad­vis­ing them how to keep their money safe:

■ Use less cash. It is easy to lose cash, and it is also easy for oth­ers to steal it. Avoid keep­ing large amounts at home to pay bills and trades­men;

■ Set up stand­ing or­ders or di­rect deb­its to pay reg­u­lar ex­penses and bills eas­ily and se­curely;

■ Get reg­u­lar cur­rent ac­count state­ments from your bank in the post or on­line. Check these state­ments;

■ Never give your card or per­sonal de­tails to an­other per­son, in­clud­ing your PIN or CCV num­ber.

Mean­while, the Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee was told yes­ter­day res­i­dents in nurs­ing homes who are part of the Fair Deal scheme are con­fined to a limit of three in­con­ti­nence pads a day.

Fianna Fáil TD Marc McSharry raised the is­sue with Tadhg Daly of Nurs­ing Homes Ire­land, say­ing he was con­tacted by peo­ple with lit­tle re­sources who were forced to buy their own in­con­ti­nence wear.

Mr Daly said that un­der the Fair Deal scheme the daily limit per res­i­dent is three pads.

He also high­lighted how an older per­son who has a med­i­cal card can lose out on oc­cu­pa­tional or phys­io­ther­apy ser­vices from the HSE once they en­ter a pri­vate nurs­ing home.

Mr Daly knew of res­i­dents who were in­formed they would no longer get these ther­a­pies al­though they re­ceived them when they were liv­ing in their own home.

He said pri­vate homes con­tinue to be paid lower rates un­der the Fair Deal scheme than HSE-run homes, which set their own fees.

A small num­ber of nurs­ing homes have closed be­cause they were no longer fi­nan­cially vi­able, he added.

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