The HSE says it received 2,302 referrals of elder abuse in 2011, an increase of 9% on 2010.
The health executive’s latest report on referrals to its elder abuse service says of these cases, 1,867 involved allegations of a particular person involved in abuse, 429 cases were exclusively self-neglect and six represented organisational abuse.
Excluding cases of self-neglect only, psychological abuse was the most common type of abuse reported, accounting for 35% of reports.
This was followed by financial abuse (23%), neglect (19%), and physical abuse (12%).
The public health nursing service was the main source of referral of suspected abuse cases.
Most of the alleged victims of elder abuse were female and there was a higher referral rate among the over-80 years age group compared to 64-79 year-olds.
The HSE said alleged perpetrators of abuse tend to be relatives of the abused.
Sons or daughters were the alleged perpetrators in 44% of cases, partner/husband/wife in 18% of cases and other relatives in 18% of cases.
The HSE says anyone who is being abused, or is concerned about abuse, should talk to someone they can trust or contact the HSE information line on 1850 24 1850.
Alternatively, they are advised to contact a health professional such as a GP, public health nurse or social worker.
All referrals of alleged elder abuse to the HSE are treated in confidence and, as much as possible, handled in a way that respects the wishes of older persons.