Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Abuse of older people - More awareness and protection needed

13 June, 2007

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Older People, Newry Armagh MLA Mickey Brady has said more needs to be done to stop the abuse of older people and that they should be treated with equality and respect. More resources must be made available to improve home security for older people and give them a sense of security.

Mr Brady said:

"It is very worrying that cases of the neglect and mistreatment of older people are far from isolated occurrences. There needs to be a change in society's attitudes to older people and their treatment, they need to be treated with equality and respect.

"Awareness is key to getting the message out there about the nature and scale of elder abuse and what people should do if they suspect that an older person is being abused. The issue of elder abuse has to be taken seriously and we need to learn from the experience of experts in protecting other vulnerable groups.

"Other key issues for older people are decent accommodation and safety in the community. Increasingly, sheltered accommodation and housing complexes for older people are clustered away from the wider community, creating isolation and difficulties in full participation in the community. This isolation, especially in rural areas, also helps foster a sense of vulnerability. We need to a better mix in new build public housing developments. The design of new public housing should embrace the concept of life-long living. Older people should be enabled to continue living in their own home where this is their preference.

"Resources to improve home security for older people improves safety and the sense of security and communications initiatives such as free telephone line rental can also make people feel safe and less isolated. However, such measures are not a cure for the problem of attacks on the elderly.

"Turning homes into fortresses is not a long-term solution to the problem of isolation, alienation or vulnerability. Resources need to support communities in challenging the violence of those who target our older people and we need to support older people in taking their part in our communities." ENDS

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