Crime: Elder abuse

What is elder abuse

Elder abuse takes many forms, but these are the most common types:-

  • physical abuse
  • psychological abuse
  • financial exploitation
  • sexual abuse
  • neglect by a care giver.

What are the signs

The Age UK safeguarding older people from abuse fact sheet includes detailed advice on what to look out for. The following are just some of the signs that could indicate abuse:-

  • unexplained bruising, fractures, open wounds and welts and untreated injuries
  • poor general hygiene and weight loss
  • unexplained changes in a person’s finances and material well-being
  • questionable financial or legal documents, or the disappearance of those documents.

Who is vulnerable

People who are physically, emotionally or psychologically frail and dependent on others for care are most at risk of elder abuse. Abuse can occur in institutional settings, but more often it takes place in the home. Older people are often unable, frightened or embarrassed to report the presence of abuse.

What you can do

Consider ways in which the possibilities for abuse can be reduced. Isolation can lead to an older person being dependent on one care giver, whether through family bonds, friendship or a paid caring role. This special relationship creates an expectation of trust that can easily be exploited. Having more than one person keeping an eye on matters and external support can reduce isolation and dependency.

Social support

Contact the Elderly

Contact the Elderly is a national charity solely dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation among older people. They organise monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people (aged 75+) who live alone, offering a regular and vital friendship link.

Friends of the Elderly

Friends of the Elderly is a charity dedicated to supporting older people. Their team of volunteer befrienders provide friendly calls and a listening ear as part of the Phoning Friends service.

Reporting abuse

Action on Elder Abuse (AEA) is a charitable group that focuses on the issue of elder abuse. They provide information, advice and support to victims and others who are concerned about or have witnessed abuse.

They operate specialist helplines for care providers, offering whistleblowing advice and support to residents, relatives and staff.

AEA’s helpline also offers direct advice and support to all other victims and witnesses of abuse. Call 0808 808 8141 for further assistance.

Listening Friends

You could also talk to one of Pharmacist Support’s Listening Friends in confidence. You can contact our Listening Friends Helpline on: 0808 168 5133, or contact our enquiry line on 0808 168 2233.