According to HSE, there were more than 13,000 elderly people who have been victims of an abuse in 2013. Twenty percent of these have experienced financial abuse, which is the second most common type against older members of the community.
493 bank officials dealing with customer service from Ulster bank were surveyed and more than 45 percent of them responded that they handled cases of financial abuse against the elderly within the previous 12 months.
Most of the bank officials knew cases of such abuse against older people. 68 percent of the new members of the staff were familiar with them and 75 percent of those who had more than 10 years experience had dealt with such cases in the past.
“Every year, hundreds of older people are facing demands for money from family members, having their income withheld from them or finding their possessions taken”, said Justin Moran, who is currently the Head of Advocacy and Communications at Age Action.
What is even more alarming is the fact that in most cases the perpetrators are very close relatives such as the victims’ children or siblings. Age Concern’s CEO Robyn Scott said recent statistics show that more than 70 percent of financial abuse cases are caused by various family members.
It is the case of Sinead, an old woman who suffers from dementia. Her own son managed to convince her to set up a joint bank account at a time when she was almost incapacitated. Afterwards, her son started to spend money on various things and Sinead was the one who was charged for those purchases.
When she became more lucid, she went to the bank and she was reimbursed when her son’s actions were recognized as fraud.
This Monday is the first day of the Elder Abuse Awareness Week, which hopes to encourage bank officials to act against such offences and make people more sensitive to older people’s rights to live a normal life and feel secure in the community.
Both the HSE and Age Action now give people an opportunity to report cases of elder abuse, as it set up a line which is available from Monday to Friday.
Image Source: telegraph