MORE than 2,000 elderly people were subjected to physical, financial and psychological abuse at the hands of their loved ones in Ireland last year — but at least 20,000 others could still be suffering in silence reports Fiachra Ó Cionnaith of The Irish Examiner.
New figures revealed in the HSE’s latest performance monitoring report show the number of elderly people enduring the physical and mental attacks was 10% higher in 2010 compared to 2009.
According to the document, a total of 2,110 people were subjected to the disturbing conditions last year, including 810 from the HSE South region, 465 in the West, 429 in Dublin North East and 406 cases in Dublin Mid Leinster.
Psychological (659 cases) and financial (545) — from failing to repay small amounts of money to pension payments being stolen — were the most common incidents, but forms of neglect (532) and physical assault (305) were also identified.
While the figures represent a 10% increase on the 2009 total, HSE officials believe more than 20,000 other elderly people are suffering similar abuse without making the issue known.
The most likely people to be responsible for elderly abuse are the victim’s son or daughter (45% of cases), followed by other relatives (17%), spouses (16%) or their carer/health service staff (8%).
95% of known cases took place at home, an increase from 85% in 2009, while 65% of victims were elderly women.
Provisional figures for the first nine months of this year show that 1,511 people were referred to the HSE’s dedicated elderly abuse support service during the period.
However, while the rate is broadly in line with 2010, a massive 39.1% rise in cases has been reported in the Dublin Mid Leinster region, resulting in the HSE making extra staff available for this area.
Age Action Ireland spokesperson, Eamon Timmins, urges anyone suffering elderly abuse or is concerned a person they know may be at risk to contact the HSE on 1850 241 850, open Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm.
Age Action Ireland can be contacted on 01 4756989 Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm.