Press Release

Minister Brady Launches “Open Your Eyes” the Health Service Executive’s Elder Abuse Media and Public Awareness Campaign on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Ms Áine Brady TD, Minister for Older People today (Wednesday, 15th June) launched “Open Your Eyes” – the Health Service Executive’s Elder Abuse Media and Public Awareness Campaign. Marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Minister urged people to follow up on any concerns they may have in relation to abuse of older people. Elder Abuse is a complex issue, it may take the form of psychological abuse, neglect, financial abuse, physical abuse or sexual abuse or a combination of these. The Minister stated that “whatever form it may take it is simply unacceptable. We must decide what kind of society we want to live in and take a stand against any type of abuse”.

An analysis of the 2009 referrals to the Health Service Executive (HSE) shows that most cases of reported elder abuse involve close family members. Family relatives are cited in over three out of every four cases. In approximately two thirds of referrals the victim is female.

The focus of this year’s media and public awareness campaign is on raising awareness of elder abuse in community settings. The Minister stated that “Over 55,000 people are engaged in activities that brings them into contact with older people on a daily basis. People providing home help and meals-on-wheels services, home visitation groups, active retirement associations and community groups etc., are in a unique position to identify signs of elder abuse. The challenge is to equip these individuals with the skills and knowledge to enable them to recognise and respond appropriately to elder abuse.”

There is a variety of supports available and anyone who has concerns may report their anxieties to; a public health nurse, a member of the Garda Síochána, any health professional or care worker or their bank or solicitor.

The Minister concluded by re-iterating the Government’s commitment to tackle elder abuse. The Review of the Elder Abuse Service published earlier this year found that “progress was most evident and pronounced in the health sector”. “While there is more work to be done in this area, we have a good foundation in place, and work has started on implementing the recommendations in the Review Report” the Minister added.

The HSE’s Information Line 1850 24 1850 is available Monday to Saturday 8am-8pm. The HSE provides a discreet and confidential service which may include conflict mediation, advocacy or day care as appropriate.