Elder abuse is defined as -
''Abuse may be defined as any act, or failure to act, which results in a breach of a vulnerable person’s human rights, civil liberties, physical and mental integrity, dignity or general well being, whether intended or through negligence, including sexual relationships or financial transactions to which the person does not or cannot validly consent, or which are deliberately exploitative. Abuse may take a variety of forms.'' (Protecting our Future, Report of the Working Group on Elder Abuse, September 2002)
65 years of age is taken as the point beyond which abuse may be considered to be elder abuse.
What forms can Elder Abuse take?
There are several forms of abuse, any or all of which may be carried out as the result of deliberate intent, negligence or ignorance.
- Psychological abuse
- Neglect and acts of omission
- Financial or material abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
Psychological Abuse consider the possibility of psychological abuse if:
- You are made feel afraid in your living accommodation
- You are experiencing feelings of hopelessness or helplessness because of the attitude or behaviour of others
- You are made feel tearful and agitated
Neglect consider the possibility of neglect if:
- You are not receiving adequate liquids to drink or food to eat
- Your clothes are not being washed when required
- You are not being provided with appropriate clothing for the weather conditions
- You are being denied the aids you need, eg glasses, hearing aid, dentures etc
- You are being left alone for long periods when you cannot move about easily or prepare meals with out assistance
- You are bed/chair bound and you are experiencing significant doscomfort which is not alleviated when this is brought to someone's attention
Financial Abuse consider the possibility of financial abuse if:
- Someone else has access to your accounts without your full permission
- You feel pressured to allow someone else access to your accounts
- Someone else makes decisions about your money without speaking with you
- You feel you have lost all control over your money
- Your money is being spent by someone else for things other than your bills, clothes, food, etc.
- You feel pressured to give money to someone else
Physical Abuse: consider the possibility of physical abuse if:
- You have been treated roughly, enough to leave marks or bruises
- You have been treated violently which caused broken bones, sprains, dislocations or other injuries
- Someone has inflicted pain on you
Sexual Abuse; consider the possibility of sexual abuse if:
- Someone has forced you to be intimate with them without your consent
If you are experiencing any of the feelings or effects outlined above, you may need to speak with your GP, Public Health Nurse or Safeguarding and Protection Team or contact the HSE Information line on 1850 24 1850.