The unsettling truth cannot be ignored; one in five older people are likely to be experiencing financial abuse.
That was the key message which came from the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, Eddie Lynch, speaking at a Southern Health and Social Care Trust Adult Safeguarding event to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
He spoke of his shock at discovering that 1 in 5 older people in Northern Ireland are likely to be experiencing a form of financial abuse.
This year the theme of the 11th annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is financial exploitation and material abuse of older people. As one of the Commissioner’s key priorities for his term, this is an issue that has become a growing problem in Northern Ireland.
The Commissioner for Older People launched research last year which found that 21% of older people in Northern Ireland were likely to be experiencing a form of financial abuse.
Financial abuse takes many forms including theft, withholding pension or benefits or even exerting pressure around wills, property or inheritance.
The Commissioner said: “I was both shocked and saddened that one in five older people in Northern Ireland are experiencing some form of financial abuse and today serves as a timely reminder that the problem still exists and more must be done to tackle this growing problem.
“In my role as Commissioner for Older People I have seen the devastating impact that financial abuse can have on older people.
“Aside from the financial loss itself, this crime affects the emotional wellbeing of older people, bringing with it feelings of betrayal, embarrassment and fear.”
To view a copy of the research report you can visit the website www.copni.org.