Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Leading local doctors and nurses are using the opportunity to raise awareness and let people know what they can do to help prevent it.
An increasing proportion of the population are elderly, with many depending on others for support.
This makes them potentially vulnerable to abuse. The abuse doesn’t have to be physical. It can be emotional, sexual or financial. Neglect is also abuse.
In Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent reported incidents of abuse are increasing – up 25% in the last 12 months to 5, 529 cases in Staffordshire, with a 6% increase in Stoke-on-Trent with 1,957 reports.
Lisa Bates, Designated Nurse to the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Adult Safeguarding Board said: “While there is now increased awareness of elder abuse, it is still probable it is under-reported. We want to use today as an opportunity to raise awareness, and let people know what they can do if they suspect an older person is suffering any kind of abuse.”
Each area has a hotline that people can ring. They are free and confidential:
Staffordshire 0345 604 2719
Stoke-on-Trent 0800 5610015
Lisa said: “Spotting and challenging abuse in the elderly isn’t easy. Some are isolated having outlived family and friends, and some are abused in institutions where abuse it is not spotted, can be covered up or worse still is an accepted norm.
“Fear and infirmity means that elderly people do not report abuse themselves, and in some cases don’t realise they are being abused. It is especially cruel that the abusers are frequently the very people who are meant to be providing care and support.
“If anyone has any concerns we would encourage them to report them and help make the lives of our elderly population safer and more enjoyable.”