Age Action is marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (15 June) by launching a new animated video to warn older people and their families of the dangers of financial elder abuse. In the coming weeks the organisation will also distribute more than 20,000 information leaflets to community centres and retirement groups around Ireland.
The initiative is part of a wider project funded by Ulster Bank to help raise awareness of the costs and risks of financial elder abuse.
The video was produced by Dublin-based animation studio, Pink Kong.
There were more than 2,500 cases of elder abuse referred to the HSE in 2014 and one in five were financial abuse. Despite annual increases in the number of cases a survey of older people carried out by Age Action last year found that more than half of those surveyed were unaware of financial elder abuse.
Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications at Age Action, said: “Every year, hundreds of older people face demands for money, have their pensions withheld or their possessions taken.
“To make it worse, in the overwhelming majority of cases of elder abuse, the perpetrators are immediate family members.”
Age Action and Ulster Bank have been working together since 2014 as part of the bank’s wider work in the area of financial capability, to raise awareness of financial elder abuse and to identify ways to help older people protect themselves.
Pauline McKiernan of Ulster Bank said: “Older people and more vulnerable members of our society are at particular risk of being targets for fraud and financial abuse. As a bank, we are working hard to raise awareness of these issues and to protect customers against financial loss from scams and financial elder abuse.
“Our work with Age Action is an important part of Ulster Bank’s strategy to help improve financial capability and provide meaningful help for our customers. We’re very proud to support this campaign and we would urge everyone to watch this video and to share it as widely as possible.”
Justin Moran continued: “It is those who are abusing older people, taking their money and their savings, who are responsible for elder abuse.
“The best way for older people to protect themselves is to be informed, to ensure their friends and family know what warnings signs to watch out for and to act when they suspect elder abuse.
“This video, and the leaflet campaign we will be rolling out in the coming weeks, will open the eyes of thousands of older people and their families to the dangers of financial elder abuse.”