2nd September 2022
Marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2022, the theme for which is “Rights Don’t Get Old”, the South East Safeguarding Committee recently held an informal coffee morning at the HSE offices in Lacken, Kilkenny, with Kate Killeen White, Chief Officer, South East Community Healthcare, in attendance.
It is a day that recognises the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights concern. The day serves as a call to action for individuals, organisations and communities to raise awareness about abuse, neglect, and the exploitation of older people.
The HSE/South East Community Healthcare (SECH), as part of its Quality, Safety and Service Improvement supports, leads a Safeguarding Committee for the region. It was formed to promote the safeguarding of vulnerable adults and is made up of representatives from statutory, community and voluntary agencies across counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford.
Speaking at the event, Stephanie Lynch (Head of Service/Quality, Safety and Service Improvement, HSE/South East Community Healthcare) stressed that “safeguarding' means putting measures in place in services to reduce the risk of harm, to promote people's human rights and their health and wellbeing, and to empower people to protect themselves. Safeguarding is fundamental to high-quality health and social care.
“The detection and response to elder abuse is significantly challenged by a deficit in awareness and understanding, perhaps even recognition, of the issue among communities. As with being available here this morning to chat to colleagues and answer any questions, the HSE’s Safeguarding and Protection Team are there as a resource to the public.”
Outlining detail on how such services can be accessed in the South East, Philip O’ Reilly (Medical Social Worker, Carlow/Kilkenny Integrated Care for Older Persons team) noted that “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an opportunity to champion the rights of some of the South East’s most vulnerable citizens and reminds everyone that safeguarding adults at risk of abuse is a societal responsibility that everyone has a part to play in.”
Rob O’ Connor (Acting Principal Social Worker for HSE Safeguarding and Protection Team in South East Community Healthcare) added that “this year we invite everyone in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford to join forces and raise awareness to prevent Elder Abuse, stand up for the rights of older people and remind the world that ‘Human Rights Don’t Get Old’, even as we age.”