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New campaign exposes threat of financial elder abuse

Published 15/06/2016

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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.”

Tackling Financial Elder Abuse

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My Legacy Month

My Legacy Month is an initiative for the month of November during which My Legacy and their 65 member charities ask the public to consider leaving a legacy gift in their will to a charity they care about. But what exactly is this? It is simply a gift, something that you can give after you have made provisions for loved ones or family members in your will.

 

At Age Action we recognise that every legacy gift we receive means that we have been remembered by someone in their will and so it is particularly meaningful to us. We welcome the financial benefit, which helps us continue and develop existing services or can kick start innovative new initiatives, but more importantly the gift is evidence that the person believes that we have, or can, make a positive difference in the lives older people in Ireland.

 

One of the largest legacies Age Action received, to date, was just over €100,000 which helped us strengthen our Care and Repair service to provide practical support and social contact to older people with the aim of helping them to remain living in their own homes, for longer, in increased safety and comfort. Age Action understands that as people get older, maintaining their home can become more difficult, particularly if they are experiencing mobility issues. Simply changing a lightbulb or weeding the garden can be challenging and paying someone to do it can be expensive for people who depend on the State Pension. 

 

We also receive regular smaller legacy gifts, which are just as important and meaningful to us and highlight that anyone can plan to include a cause close to their heart, like Age Action, in their will regardless of the size of their estate.

 

Caroline O’Connell, Head of Fundraising at Age Action says “Leaving a legacy gift to Age Action means that we can continue to make a difference for Ireland’s ageing population, in your memory.”

 

To find out more about My Legacy including how to make a will to ensure that your wishes are carried out you can visit mylegacy.ie or if you want to talk about how your legacy gift could make a difference to Age Action you can contact Caroline at headoffundraising@ageaction.ie.