Abuse of the elderly rising, group warns

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 February, 2008, 12:00am

A welfare group yesterday called for urgent action to help stop abuse of elderly people following a rise in its caseload of nearly 40 per cent.

Against Elderly Abuse handled 1,570 cases last year - an average of about four cases a day. This was 38 per cent more than the 1,136 cases in 2006.

Of the 1,570 cases, about a third involved so-called 'financial abuse', in which family members cheated elderly people out of money or took their welfare payments.

There were 271 of these cases in 2006, accounting for about a quarter of the cases.

The group said it was the tip of the iceberg because many incidents went unreported because of a sense of shame.

A quarter of the cases the group handled last year involved 'psychological abuse', which might include overloading elderly people with work, mocking them or leaving them alone at home.

'Sadly, seniors cannot always rely on family members to do what is best for them. But services for elderly abuse are inadequate,' the group's assistant executive director, Roy Lam Man-chiu, said.

'At present, there are services to help battered wives and to fight child abuse. But for elderly abuse, there is no government-subvented organisations offering services. Elderly victims have no way to seek proper services.'