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Grundtvig Project on Elder Abuse

Age Action, along with partners in Finland, Italy and Romania, was successful in obtaining funding under the Grundtvig element of the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme to address the issue of elder abuse.

A brief overview of the project is provided below with further details available on the project's Combating Elder Abuse website here.

Aim of the Project

A common need of the partner organisations in this project is to continuously find new knowledge and ways to educate, train and support local and national authorities, informal and professional carers and volunteers to protect older people from abuse, to empower older people themselves to take over their own lives and to create opportunities for their participation in society. There is also a need for greater inter-agency collaboration and protocols and improvement of services.

This project provides an opportunity to share this knowledge, training material and further develop existing tools. The partners have been and currently are involved in different European level activities and projects. This makes it possible to expand knowledge on the prevention of elder abuse at a European level.

The objectives of this project are to:

  • Expand knowledge and awareness on ways to prevent elder abuse at a local, national and European level;
  • Share and develop innovative training material and methods and ways to raise awareness of elder abuse among volunteers, informal carers and older people and their families; and
  • Engage in national elder abuse awareness raising through involvement in World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) events.

The objectives will be achieved by sharing knowledge and experiences and exploring existing training materials as well as identifying other initiatives such as supportive activities including support groups, counselling services, help lines etc. for those who have experienced abuse. This gives rich and innovative ideas for training practices, methods, material and services targeted for older people.

Outcomes

The outcome of the project is an introductory training and awareness raising resource pack for volunteers, informal carers, older people and their families.

Partnership

The partnership of this project proposal was based on a recent European level project “Wellbeing and Dignity of Older people, WeDO” (2010-2012).

Partners from Finland, Italy and Romania participated in the project work. 

In addition to Age Action, the other partnership members were:

  • Suvanto (Finland) - The Finnish Association For A Safe Old Age, is a national non-governmental organization. The goal of the association is to raise on the issue of elder abuse and neglect
  • Anziani e Non Solo (Italy) - is a NGO working in the field of social innovation.
  • Asociatia HABILITAS Centru de Resurse si Formare Profesionala (Romania) - Habilitas delivers professional adult training and counselling services in social, psychological and educational projects and programs.

Note: Links to external websites are included on this page. Age Action is not responsible for the contents of external websites.

Age Based Analysis of Mortgage Arrears Released for First Time

We welcome the publication, by the Irish Times, of data released for the first time by the Central Bank of Ireland that shows the number of people approaching, or already at retirement age, who are dealing wtih significant mortgage debt. The information gives a clearer picture of the worrying situation for Ireland’s ageing population. Simply, a lack of evidence exists on the cost of ageing with less complete data collected about us the older we become. As a result, crucial policy decisions are made without the availability of disaggregated and representative data which can result in discriminatory outcomes. We need an urgent rethinking of how we gather evidence and inform policy that meets the needs of a changing Ireland.

While there has been an assumption that older people close to, and in receipt of, the State pension are generally mortgage-free home owners, it is clear that this is no longer true with many still carrying large mortgages, in mortgage arrears or living in precarious private rentals with no security of tenure in older age. We should all have a choice to age in place which means the creation of age friendly environments, including the provision of support services locally, which enable people to remain in their own homes and in communities for longer; but the changing nature of homeownership, rising cost of living, and the lack of a coordinated policy response to the housing crisis means many people will be facing a very difficult situation in later life. 

Many older people live in the most vulnerable situations in our society. An increasing number are struggling to meet the rising cost of living – in particular costs around rent and mortgages - in the context of a State pension that sees many surviving on incomes only just above the poverty line. Latest CSO EU SILC figures show 1 in 10 older people at risk of poverty. New taxes, and rising prices in recent years have a greater impact on older people generally living on a fixed income with limited opportunities to improve their situation. Budget 2020 saw the income of older person headed households increase by €1.08 per week for those living with another person, and by €6.08 per week for those living alone in older age. It did not offer the majority of older people the support needed to meet the increasing costs of living and it did not offer a concrete plan to support us to age in place.

Ageist attitudes towards working later in life still exist, for example many older people have reported high levels of discrimination during recruitment. Discriminatory mandatory retirement clauses are still in place forcing people out of the workforce earlier than they may wish. These two things undermine people’s ability to continue working in later life whether by choice or necessity. In the context of a buoyant labour market, we urgently need a fundamental shift in how we view and support older workers.

An increasing number of older people are experiencing fear about retirement due to worries about income adequacy. Less than half of those working have a private or occupational pension to support them in later life. While Age Action welcomes the publication of the recent autoenrolment scheme by the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection which will see increased pension coverage for more than an estimated half a million workers, the current design will further drive existing pension inequalities unless there is a targeted intervention to include people in low paid jobs, particularly women and long term unemployed.

Our economy has been built on the backs of those already in, and approaching, older age: these are the same women and men who lived through the Marriage Bar, shouldered several recessions and are now dealing with the accumulated disadvantages. Successive government policies have failed to adequately plan and provide for an ageing population which will ultimately impact on all of us throughout our lives.