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November 10, 2010

Thousands of Elderly Abused (UK)

09/11/2010
by Deborah Condon 

At least 10,000 people over the age of 65 have been abused in the last 12 months, a major new study has found.
The National Study of Elder Abuse and Neglect, which was conducted by researchers at University College Dublin (UCD), is the first report into the prevalence of abuse and neglect, and the types of abuse, experienced by older people living at home.


Elder abuse can take several forms, including physical, financial, psychological or sexual. It can also take the form of active or passive neglect.
According to the findings, financial abuse was the most frequent type of abuse reported, followed by psychological abuse, physical abuse and neglect. Sexual abuse was the least common type of abuse reported.


"The most frequently reported incidents of financial abuse were older people being forced to give money or property to someone in a position of trust.
"The most frequent types of psychological abuse reported included verbal insults, followed by being excluded, undermined, verbal threats and being prevented by the perpetrator from seeing people that the older person cares about, such as grandchildren," explained lead researcher, Dr Corina Naughton, of the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems.
Meanwhile, the study showed that the majority of physical abuse reported related to being pushed, followed by being threatened or hit with an object, kicked, and denied access to equipment such as a walking or hearing aid, or being restrained.
"The highest levels of mistreatment occurred in intergenerational households or complex household structures, where the older person shared the house with an adult child and their family or other relatives. Older people living alone or with a spouse or partner reported lower levels of mistreatment," Dr Naughton said.


She pointed out that while the majority of older people do not experience mistreatment by people close to them, the risk factors for elder abuse and neglect are likely to increase as the population ages, and as a greater number of older people depend on formal and informal support.
"One of the most important steps in preventing elder abuse is increased awareness among older people themselves, their families and the wider public. The responsibility for tackling elder abuse and neglect is shared across the whole of society. We all have a right to expect a safe and secure future in older age," Dr Naughton added.


Launching the report, the Minister for Older People and Health Promotion, Aine Brady, urged anyone who has concerns in relation to elder abuse to report their anxieties to a HSE Social Worker, a public health nurse, a GP, a member of the Garda Síochána, or in the case of financial abuse, a solicitor or bank official.
Over 2,000 older people were interviewed in private, in their own homes, for the report. Older people living in residential care settings were not included in the study, as the focus was on community dwelling people.


According to Central Statistics Office figures, in 2006 there were 467,900 people aged 65 and over in Ireland, or 11% of the population. By 2061, this figure is expected to reach 1.8 million.





SOURCE:   The Irish Health




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