Today is UN Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Elder abuse is a global social issue which affects the health and human rights of millions of older people around the world.
Today is about all of us working together to bring greater recognition of the mistreatment of older people wherever they live, and to highlight the need for appropriate action.
Elder abuse can be 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". It can take various forms such as physical, psychological or emotional, sexual and financial abuse. It can also be the result of intentional or unintentional neglect.
Around 4 to 6% of elderly people have experienced some form of maltreatment at home. On top of this elderly people are at risk of being isolated from the rest of their community. In fact people over the age of 85 estimated to spend an average of 90% of their time in the home and 17% of older people are in contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week, so abuse can go unnoticed, and unreported.
That’s why we are asking people to take time to speak to and keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable people in their communities and come forward if they have a concern that something isn’t right.
If you are worried about a neighbour, a friend, a relative, even someone you serve in a shop, we urge you to act on that feeling and report it to us.
Richard Kelvey, Avon and Somerset Police: “Everyone has the right to live their life free from violence, fear and abuse, unfortunately many of the most vulnerable members of our community are at most risk of becoming victims of abuse. We are urging people to look out for the signs of abuse, and to trust their gut instinct. If in doubt, speak out. Simply letting someone know that you are looking out for them you can help them feel safe.”