Watch: Malta’s elderly suffer mostly from emotional abuse – Doctor

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A Maltese doctor employed in Australia stated that from his past experiences working in Malta, together with some minor studies conducted, Malta’s elderly suffer mostly from emotional abuse.

Dr. Carmelo Aquilina, Sydney’s Clinical Director of Mental Health Services for the Elderly made this statement while answering questions asked by, following a lecture he coordinated for nurses and doctors at Mount Carmel Hospital.

Read: Only two ‘abuse on elderly’ reports in 18 months – Police

According to the World Health Organisation’s Toronto Declaration of 2002, abuse on the elder is defined as a single or repeated act, or lack of action where there is a lack of trust in a relationship. These particular acts lead to damage or stress for the elderly.

Emotional, financial, and physical abuse

Dr. Aquilina explained that although there are no mass systematic studies conducted in Malta, there are several studies that focused on a small target audience. He added that from his past experiences working in Malta, together with these studies, it appears that harsh words are the instrument most used to emotionally abuse the elderly in Malta. Moreover, the second most common form is financial abuse, where relatives and friends attempt to take advantage of the elderly’s deteriorated mental state to rob them of their wealth. Furthermore, physical abuse ranked third in the list of acts committed on the elderly.

Dr Aquilina added that abuse on the elderly is a universal problem. He stated that Malta should invest in higher standards and in professionals who act on behalf of those who need assistance.

In the meantime, the President of the Malta Association of Psychiatric Nurses (MAPN) Kevin Gafá told that professionals should be aware of this reality, and should, therefore, undergo training on how to identify these threats and what should take place afterward.