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Age Action launches new elder abuse report

Published 19/06/2017


A new report examines the experience of participants in socio-drama workshops designed to help care workers and older people in residential settings challenge ageism, understand their human rights and prevent elder abuse.

HSE figures have consistently shown an increase in the number of reported cases of elder abuse since 2008. A recent HSE report identified almost 8,000 reports of abuse against adults in 2016, almost half of which were against people aged over the age of 65.

The true figure is likely far higher due to a lack of awareness of the issue and a reluctance on the part of many victims to report their case to the HSE.

Innovative new approach

An innovative new approach to tackling elder abuse is a project being led by Age Action and the Gaiety School of Acting with partners in Finland, Italy and Romania that uses drama workshops to educate older people and carers about their human rights and how a rights-based approach can help tackle elder abuse.

Dr Marita O'Brien continued: "Over recent months we've worked with the Gaiety School of Acting and our European partners to develop a series of workshops that can be run in nursing homes or other residential settings.

"It's a creative and interactive way for care staff to learn how their actions can be perceived by older people and it helps older people to understand the kinds of behaviour they should not accept and encourages them to act if they believe they are being abused."

Experience of workshops

The project's latest report is based on evaluations of 12 different workshops held in the four partner countries. More than 200 care workers and residents were involved.

The feedback will be used to identify ways of improving the workshops for future projects and also highlights the different experiences and understanding of elder abuse across the Italy, Romania, Ireland and Finland. 

"We're very grateful to all of the participants," said Dr O'Brien. "Their ideas, suggestions and constructive criticisms of the workshops were really useful and highlighted the value of using a socio-drama approach to help tackle elder abuse.

The Erasmus + funded project involves Age Action and partners in Finland, Italy and Romania, along with the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, in tackling elder abuse, particularly for older people receiving care. It focuses on educating and empowering older people to protect themselves.


Age Action Awarded Investing In Volunteers National Quality Standard

Age Action is delighted to announce that we have been awarded the Investing in Volunteers quality standard. Investing in Volunteers (IiV) is the national quality standard for good practice in volunteer management in Ireland.

The Investing in Volunteers standard assesses the organisation’s volunteering programme in six areas: vision for volunteering, planning for volunteers, volunteer inclusion, recruiting and welcoming volunteers, supporting volunteers, and valuing and developing volunteers. As part of the process, we completed a self-assessment of our volunteering programme, and with the assistance of an Investing in Volunteers mentor, we then put together an improvement plan. Over the course of the assessment forty of our volunteers were interviewed as well as staff and board members.

Every year, hundreds of people volunteer with Age Action in our Getting Started digital literacy programme, and with our Care and Repair DIY Service. We would like to thank all of our wonderful volunteers who bring their time, energy and skills to Age Action and are the reason that our volunteering programme is so impactful. Volunteers are at the heart of our programmes and services at Age Action and without our volunteers we couldn’t fulfil our mission to support older people to live full and independent lives. Achieving the Investing in Volunteers quality standard shows our commitment to providing an experience that reflects how much we value our volunteers.

Here’s what some of our Volunteers said as part of the process:

‘I’ve gained a lot of skills from volunteering.  It has built my confidence in teamworking and communication.’

‘It keeps me active being able to help people and improve their quality of life’. 

‘I think they’ve got it just right with the amount of information to keep you in touch.  The monthly newsletter let’s you see what’s going on”.

“Emails keep you informed.  They are very willing to take suggestions on board, they encourage you to give them feedback’.

Going through the Investing in Volunteers process has helped us to review and improve our volunteering programme in its entirety, from how we recruit, train and support volunteers, to how we communicate with and involve our volunteers at all levels of the organisation. As we celebrate achieving the standard, we reiterate our commitment to providing the best possible volunteering experience for our volunteers who make an incredible difference in the lives of those older people we serve.