DUBLIN, Ireland / Wicklow People / NAtional News / June 13, 2011
Some elderly people would not report abuse by their children because they dread the prospect of life in a nursing home, a new report suggests.
The cross-border study, the first of its kind in Ireland, questioned pensioners who ranked psychological, mental and emotional abuse the most damaging.
Pensioners dependent on others because of physical or mental difficulties were most at risk of abuse, with participants in the study believing elder abuse to be most likely to take place in the home.
Age Action Ireland said policies tackling abuse should focus more on empowering older people.
Some 58 people in focus groups across the country were asked questions as part of the 'A Total Indifference to our Dignity' - Older People's Understanding of Elder Abuse' study, including their understanding of elder abuse, forms of abuse, why people experience abuse and how to prevent it.
It found elderly people believed the biggest threat to their well-being was the deterioration of their health, either physical or mental.
Those who took part in the study believed they were highly susceptible to losing control over their future if they required care, with all speaking of their dread at having to go into a nursing home.
Participants said they believed elder abuse was most likely to take place in the home.
But with nursing home care being the only alternative to family care, some participants said they would be reluctant to tell anyone about mistreatment for fear they could be taken into care.
Fear of the consequences of reporting an abuser was also raised by those interviewed while those from Northern Ireland in particular felt it was not helpful to bring in outside agencies like the police or social services.