What is elder abuse
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The Elder Abuse Helpline and other support services for seniors are continuing to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Elder abuse is any act within a relationship of trust which results in harm to an older person. It can be emotional, psychological, financial, physical or sexual abuse, or neglect.
Many people do not discuss their concerns with others because of feelings of shame, fear of retaliation, the involvement of family members or fear they will be institutionalised. Some people may not realise what they are experiencing is abuse, or feel that somehow it is their fault.
Elder abuse can include...
- frightening someone by threatening to hurt a pet or break belongings
- intimidating, humiliating, or harassing a person
- threatening to evict someone or put them in a nursing home
- stopping a person from seeing family or friends
- denying someone the right to make their own decisions
- pension skimming
- selling someone’s belongings without permission
- misusing an Enduring Power of Attorney by taking money or property improperly
- forcing a person to change their will
- denying someone access or control of their own funds
- not allowing services to help someone
- neglecting a person’s physical, medical or emotional needs
- slapping, hitting, pushing or restraining
- making unwanted sexual approaches or behaving indecently.
Signs that someone may be experiencing abuse
The person may be:
- afraid of someone close to them
- irritable, or shaking, trembling or crying
- depressed or withdrawn, talking of suicide
- uninterested in their usual interests
- presenting as helpless, hopeless or sad
- worried or anxious for no obvious reason
- reluctant to talk openly.
- change their sleeping patterns or eating habits
- have a rigid posture
- make contradictory statements not associated with mental confusion
- wait for another person to answer rather than answer questions themselves
- radically change their behaviour.