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Published By Nuala Duignan on June 03, 2017

Almost 2,500 complaints of elder abuse were made to the health services last year, up 7% since 2011, according to the Health Service Executive.

Excluding referrals of self-neglect, there were 1,923 referrals to the HSE last year.

Psychological abuse was the most common type of abuse reported at 36%, followed by financial abuse at 25%, neglect at 19% and physical abuse at 13%.

Two thirds of the alleged victims were female and there was a higher referral rate among the over 80 years age group compared to those aged between 65 and 79.

HSE helpline - 1850-24-1850.

How to recognise Elder Abuse

Types of abuse

Psychological Abuse
Consider the possibility of psychological abuse if:

  • You are made feel afraid in your living accommodation
  • You are experiencing feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
  • You are made feel tearful and agitated
  • You experience loss of appetite and/or disrupted sleep

Consider the possibility of neglect if:

  • You are not receiving adequate liquids to drink or food to eat
  • Your clothes are not being washed when required.
  • You are not being provided with appropriate clothing for the weather conditions
  • You are being denied the aids you needs, e.g. glasses, hearing aid, dentures etc.
  • You are being left alone for long periods when you cannot move about easily or prepare meals with out assistance
  • You are bed / chair bound and you are experiencing pressure sores that are not being attended to even when brought to someone's attention

Financial Abuse
Consider the possibility of financial abuse if:

  • Someone else has access to your accounts without your full permission
  • You feel pressured to allow someone else access to your accounts
  • Someone else makes decisions about your money without speaking with you first
  • You feel you have lost all control over your money
  • Your money is being spent by someone else for things other than your bills, clothes, food, etc.
  • You feel pressured to give money to someone else

Physical Abuse
Consider the possibility of physical abuse if:

  • You have been treated roughly, enough to leave marks or bruises
  • You have been treated violently which caused broken bones, sprains, dislocations or other injuries
  • Someone has inflicted pain on you

Sexual Abuse
Consider the possibility of sexual abuse if:

  • Someone has forced you to be intimate with them without your consent


 If you are experiencing any of the feelings or effects outlined above, you may need to speak with your GP, Public Health Nurse or Senior Case Worker or contact the HSE Information line on 1850 24 1850.

What to do if Elder Abuse is suspected?

If you are a victim of Elder Abuse, are concerned about abuse, or if you suspect someone you know may be a victim of abuse, you should contact the HSE elder abuse service, through your GP, Public Health Nurse, local Health Centre or any of your local Senior Case Worker or An Garda Siochana.

The HSE has a dedicated Elder Abuse Service, with Senior Case Workers in Elder Abuse now working in most Local Health Office Areas. Click for a list of Senior Case Workers and their contact details.


RTE News  Thursday 25 July 2013

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