herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Most abuse of elderly is by close relative

Almost 2,000 cases of suspected abuse of elderly people were reported to the HSE last year.

Most were perpetrated by family members of the victim.

Public health nurses made the greatest number of reports of suspected abuse, followed by hospital staff and family members.

Only one in five complaints came from victims themselves.

distress

Psychological abuse accounted for one in every three referrals. One in every four cases concerned financial abuse and one in five cases concerned neglect of the victim. Physical abuse accounted for 14pc of referrals.

The review of the HSE's Elder Abuse Services for 2013 said that as most abuse was committed by family members, some 45pc of perpetrators were a son or a daughter, 19pc were spouses or partners and 15pc were other relatives.

Elder abuse is defined as any act or lack of action within a relationship where trust is expected which causes harm or distress to an older person.

Indications of neglect include dehydration, malnutrition, unkempt appearance, under or over-medication and lack of supervision.

Signs of financial abuse can include an unexplained inability to pay bills.

Other indicators are unexplained withdrawal of money from accounts, funds being diverted for someone else's use, being significantly over-charged for work carried out, an extraordinary interest by a family member in a person's assets and the making of dramatic financial decisions.

Physical abuse signs include bruises and other tell-tale injuries.

Suspected cases of elder abuse can be reported to the HSE on 1850 241850 or to their GP or other healthcare worker.

aokeeffe@herald.ie

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