Awareness About Elder Abuse

The number of elderly people abused by relatives or carers during the Covid 19 lockdown has increased by as much as 37 per cent.

Victim Support reports it had seen a 17 per cent increase in reports of domestic violence against people aged 65 or over, while Hourglass, the only national charity dedicated to elder abuse, said calls from elderly victims had risen by at least 30 per cent during the lockdown period.

The 15th June, as every year, it is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day when we join together to send a message that abuse of an older person will not be tolerated. It was created by a United Nations resolution in 2011 to raise awareness of elder abuse and to promote the many organisations that work tirelessly to safeguard the rights of the elderly.

Sadly, physical, emotional and sexual abuse is prevalent in our society and our elderly population are particularly vulnerable because of their frailty or inability to defend themselves, with some even dependent on their abuser for their care.

However, as solicitors working with elderly and vulnerable clients, a commonly overlooked form of abuse that requires safeguarding against is financial abuse, typically where a relative or friend is draining money from the elder person, persuading them to transfer assets or even forcing them to change their will to benefit them. With the increase in illnesses such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s, abusers target confused and vulnerable elders to abuse them for financial gain.

If you suspect abuse of an elderly person, don’t ignore your concerns and please report these so that this can be investigated and stopped and protections put in place to safeguard that individual, if necessary. There are various charities and organisations you can contact for advice and support if you do have concerns about an elderly person and you can also contact your local authority (Adult Social Care) as they will have policies in place to protect those at risk. If you believe an elderly person is at immediate risk of harm, please call the Police.

Old age shouldn’t be something to be feared. There are legal safeguards which can be put in place now to protect you if you ever become vulnerable or unable to deal with your own affairs.

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA’s) allow you to appoint someone of your choice (Attorney’s) to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. There are LPAs for both property & finances (dealing with your bank accounts, investments, property) and health & welfare (dealing with medical treatments, care decisions and life sustaining treatment).

Of course, it is absolutely vital that you choose attorneys that you can trust and this is why we feel it is imperative that you use a solicitor when preparing your LPA’s. We can explain all the safeguards you can put in place and what you need to think about when choosing your Attorneys.

As a champion for human rights, I am proud to raise awareness about WEAAD to encourage communities to recognize the problem of elderly abuse and create policies to harvest respect for our elders and provide tools to help them continue as respected members of our community who are valued and safe.

If you need any advice about Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney or if you are concerned about Elder Abuse do not hesitate to contact me.

Please think about an elderly person today – what can you do to make the world a safer place for them?

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