Today is the start of Elder Abuse Awareness week but just what is Elder Abuse? Elder Abuse and Neglect is defined as a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.
This year Elder Abuse Awareness Week begins on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day which is the 15th June and continues through to the 22nd June. The main message from this year’s awareness week is that it is okay to ask for help and not keep the issue hidden. People who have a feeling that something is not right can confidentially call Age Concern to discuss this.
Commonly the types of abuse are financial, psychological, physical and neglect. Age Concern’s Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention services received 2,260 referrals over the last year, this is 9 per day. While this is always a difficult situation with 80% of the alleged abuser’s family members and 49% of cases involving financial abuse, it is best to speak up early to get a resolution.
Many people are afraid to speak out as they worry they will lose the only social support network they have, this is a particularly large concern if the abuser is a relative. However, Age Concern’s services work with the older people to retain those relationships if that is what they wish. Age Concern often find solutions to help families mend relationships as opposed to a police or prosecution outcome.
While this is an awareness week, you can contact Age Concern any time of the year for help. They also work with other agencies such as health services, needs assessment services, police and banks to ensure the best possible outcomes for the older person involved. They can help give you a voice when you’re at your most vulnerable.
Keep in mind this may not be you directly affected, it could be a family member or friend who you are concerned about – you can still contact Age Concern for help.
While these statistics are concerning, more than two thirds of older people referred to Age Concern’s Elder Abuse Response and Neglect Prevention Service have reported improved wellbeing after receiving professional intervention highlighting the success of the service. The main thing to remember is – it is okay to ask for help.
Over the awareness week, Age Concern is running various awareness events across the country. Check out Age Concern’s website HERE for further details and a quiz to test your knowledge about the issue.