Monday, November 26, 2007

Financial Abuse Cited As Most Common Form of Elder Abuse

This type of abuse can include intimidation of older people to hand over property, the stealing of money and the altering of wills.

He cited the allegation that one elderly woman handed over her property to her relative on the basis that he would build a granny flat for her, but this did not materialise and she was placed in a residential home. She had to highlight her case to the authorities.

Prof O’Neill said that the authorities were very successful in dealing with these incidences once they were alerted, and contended that “sometimes even the whiff of officialdom” can frighten relatives into stopping financial abuse.

He was addressing the recent ICGP Annual Winter Meeting in Dublin.

“The key challenge for elder abuse is to see it as a whole government, whole society issue, not just health and social care. That is vitally important.

At the moment we want the Department of Finance and the Department of Education to be part of the process. While we are very grateful to the Department of Health for hosting the group, we have to have the Department of Finance involved, as financial abuse is probably the most substantive form of abuse in the elderly community,” Prof O’Neill told IMN.

Priscilla Lynch

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