Friday 23 August 2019

Elderly endure terror of neglect and abuse by their own children

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

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.

Irish Independent

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