THE San Juan de Dios hospital has developed a new programme for action in cases where older people are being abused, which could affect between 6'500 and 9'000 people on the islands who are over 65 years of age, according to figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO). Today is the world day for awareness of the abuse of elderly people, which the hospital will use to present this new programme.
The aim of the programme is to detect cases of abuse in elderly people who are admitted to hospital. The hospital issued a warning about this situation and stressed the necessity to raise the population's awareness of it. They said that awareness needs to be raised to the same level as that of child abuse and domestic violence.
According to experts, children usually appear to be the main people responsible for abuse of their parents. They estimate that this is so in 50 to 60 percent of cases, and a person being abused won't make a complaint against them because they are family. Among the “most worrying” aspects related to abuse is the fact that many older people are entirely dependent on other people.
It is estimated that some 20'000 elderly people on the islands suffer some form of serious or very serious abuse.
There are five types of abuse: physical, psychological, financial, sexual and negligence or abandonment. This last one is the most frequent, and arises when the elderly person is not properly cared for. The Programme against the Abuse of the Elderly in San Juan de Dios hospital is aimed at early detection of risk factors, both in the older person and the carer, supporting the carers in situations of stress, taking action in situations of possible abuse, making professionals aware that the events are a fact of life and contributing to the development of an ethic based on responsibility.

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