In order to raise awareness of this unfortunate topic and societal issue, an international awareness day will be held every year on June 15th.
Abuse of the elderly has been highlighted as an unfortunate by-product of our so-called civilized society now. Our aging population is growing, and with our modern society less inclined to care for their elderly at home, more old people have found themselves left to the care of nursing homes. Whilst the majority of senior care facilities are professional, scrupulous and caring places……unfortunately not all are! Elderly care is a huge money-making business, and staffing is an on-going issue, with some establishments having a high turnover of staff.
Elder abuse can take many forms, be it physical, psychological, financial or just plain old neglect. The health service has come under criticism for its role in the poor care of elderly people admitted to hospitals, who are discharged without regard for their care at home, or worse still neglected in a senior care ward.
Awareness of the threat of elderly abuse has risen in the last year or so, largely due to media exposure of cases of elderly abuse and declining standards in our health service. In contradiction to the media coverage of elderly abuse without the health service or private care homes, the Irish College of General Practitioners presented statistics alleging that 95% of cases actually occur within the old person’s home. According to their data 65% of the alleged victims were female and 50% were over 80 years of age.
As a society we have such a surge in our over 65 population that we must change our attitudes towards how we care and protect those who can become as vulnerable as young children in their twilight years. We all consider it totally shocking to hear of a case of child abuse, where an innocent, vulnerable child has become a victim. Elder abuse is no different – it is important for all of us, as a society, to protect our elderly. If you suspect an old person you know may be a victim, take action and report it!