Social workers have begun to “flag” some households with the police in the fear that vulnerable elderly people are being abused in their own homes. Age Concern spokeswomen, Sue Herrod said that there has been an increasing trend for children and grandchildren to move in with grandparents to save money.
“Older people are reluctant to complain, but this can be very stressful for them, dealing with loud noise late at night, and drinking…At the extreme end, we’re seeing emotional and physical abuse.”
Age Concern is pushing for the Domestic Violence Act to be amended to include the protection of elderly people. Elder Abuse often goes unrecognized because it falls outside the accepted definition of domestic violence. Ms. Herrod said, if the person refuses to file a complaint, the only option is to ask the police to keep an eye on the place.
“We’ve asked police to flag certain properties so if there is a call about noise, they know to check on the older person, whom we believe could be at risk.”
According to Ms. Herrod, financial abuse is another potential problem.
“You have families who are struggling themselves, and see gran as an easy source of cash because she has a free household and some savings…it’s distressing to me to see adult children teaching their children to exploit grandma.”
Age Concern national elder abuse advisor Jayne McKendry said that the financial exploitation of elderly people has increased during the recession. This year reports of financial abuse have jumped 11 percent.
“People are desperate for money and looking for easy targets. We’ve got many cases of adult children moving in with their parents without paying board.”
In addition, there are a lot of fraudulent trade people who target elderly people. In the last three years suspected abuse and neglect cases have risen by a third, with approximately 1500 notifications of suspected abuse and neglect nationwide just last year.
Last week I blogged (Bruises Can Be a Sign of Elder Abuse) on different ways to detect elder abuse, and also included important numbers needed to report suspected abuse. If you know of any person who may be physically or financially taking advantage of an elderly person, it is important to report it.