World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Published Monday, 15th June 2015

Elder abuse

Today is the ninth annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and Southend-on-Sea’s Safeguarding Adults Board is taking the opportunity to increase the public understanding of elder abuse.

In 2013-14 the police received more than 65,000 reports of elder abuse in the UK; of these, 1,497 were in Essex. Victims may be neglected or exploited financially, emotionally, physically, or sexually. Because so many victims are infirm, unwell, or dependent on their family or their carer, it can be very difficult to identify the abuse at first. Older people are more likely to be victims if they have dementia or another disability, if they are isolated from their family, and if they share living space with others. Additionally, some cases of abuse can be identified by:

· Poor personal hygiene, untreated pressure sores, or health problems left untended.

· Missed meals or medication, or unsanitary, unsafe, or dirty living conditions.

· Emotional changes such as fear, anxiety, withdrawal, anger, depression, or isolation.

· Confusion, disorientation, resignation, or unwillingness to communicate.

· Injuries like cuts, bruises, or burns in unlikely places and with dubious explanations.

· Pain when touched or unwillingness to be touched at all.

· Not being the only person with access to important documents, bank accounts, or post.

· Carer acts with indifference, refuses sympathy, or describes the person as a burden.

It is important to remember that not all of these signs can be proof that abuse is taking place; some people may prefer to have a carer manage their finances, and others may experience social withdrawal or confusion due to a medical condition. However, members of the public who are concerned that an older person may be a victim of abuse can contact Crimestoppers’ Elder Abuse Helpline on 0800 032 7644 or visit the website at Speaking at the helpline’s official launch, Crimestoppers Chief Executive Mark Hallas said, “We all have a duty to protect our elderly community and this should involve speaking out if there is any suspicion that they are suffering abuse”.