June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – established by the United Nations to raise awareness of Elder Abuse within society. We in Ireland are very aware of even more allegations of physical abuse in a care centre, as reported last week in the media. Elder abuse is on the rise with almost 1,900 cases reported in 2009.
A new report just published draws on feedback from older people themselves. Interestingly for those of us on the brink of being ‘older’ they recognize that changes in relationships and dignity happen at a subtle level, and often over a period of time. As mental and physical capacity diminishes, dependence increases, and older people become aware that as their vulnerability increases, so it becomes easier to mistreat them or harm them.
Abuse of the elderly can manifest itself in many ways: Physical, Psychological, Financial, Sexual or Neglect. Often it is perpetrated by someone well known to the elderly person.
Elderly folk love visits and good conversation. If you know of an elderly person who may be vulnerable, do visit often and establish a bond with them so that they may confide in you if all is not well.
The study entitled ’A total indifference to our Dignity‘ was funded by the Center for Ageing Research and Development and produced by Age Action Ireland.