World Elder Abuse Awareness Day takes place on Wednesday June 15th. Every year this international initiative raises public awareness about elder abuse in its many forms; physical, sexual, psychological, financial, discriminatory and neglect.
Awareness of elder abuse has risen in the last year with more than 2,000 cases of elder abuse reported to the Health Service Executive (HSE) last year, up almost 13 per cent on the previous year.
It was recently reported in the Irish Times that the figures were presented to The Irish College of General Practitioners at their annual conference in Galway and showed that in 95% of cases the abuse was alleged to have occurred in the older person’s home. Approximately 65 per cent of the alleged victims were women and half the victims were over 80 years of age.
Home Instead Senior Care was established in Ireland in 2005 to bring practical, cost effective and above all, kind and compassionate non-medical care to elderly and disabled people who wish to remain living in their own homes.
Danette Connolly, Director of Care at Home Instead Senior Care said: “Elder abuse is appalling and it so important that we come together as a community and take particular care to look out for older people and be aware of instances of elder abuse.”
“World Elder Abuse Awareness Day highlights what measures we, as families, friends and communities, can take if we become aware of elder abuse.”
“We would urge anybody who is concerned that an elderly person in the community is at risk of abuse to contact the HSE Information Line on 1850 24 1850 or our Waterford Home Instead office directly on 051 333966.”
Ms. Connolly added “If you suspect an ageing loved one is the victim of abuse, Home Instead Senior Care encourages you to do the following;
Listen to seniors and their caregivers to make sure they are being cared for appropriately. Report suspected elder abuse to your local HSE office or An Garda Siochana. Visit ageing loved ones as often as possible so the older person sees you as someone they could trust and talk to about any difficulties they may have. Seniors that are isolated are more likely to be a victim of abuse.”
The most pertinent piece of advice I can offer to anyone is “Don’t be silent. Tell someone. Get support and stop the abuse.”
To find out more about World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15th, call Danette Connolly of Home Instead Senior Care on 051 333966 or visit www.homeinstead.ie