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Frequent questions about elder abuse
Frequent questions about elder abuse What is elder abuse? Elder abuse occurs when an older man or woman is harmed, mistreated or neglected - usually by someone they should be able to trust. There are five types of elder abuse: psychological, physical, financial, sexual or neglect. Read our personal stories to find out how it affects older people. Why does it happen? Elder abuse occurs for many reasons and varies with each incident. Some abuse may be unintentional – for example, physical harm could occur if a carer does not know how to lift or care for a person properly. Lack of knowledge, understanding or training, or even frustration, can lead to mistreatment or neglect. However, some individuals deliberately cause harm, distress and even injury. Some older people may be viewed as an easy target or, because they are confused, unlikely to be believed if they talk about the situation. An older person with communication difficulties resulting from, say, stroke or dementia, could be extra-vulnerable. Abuse can occur in many different settings: in an individual's own home, in a day centre, in a residential or nursing home, in a hospital or elsewhere. What are the signs? There are a number of signs that someone might be experiencing abuse or neglect. These include: • withdrawing from usual activities; • talking and interacting less than before; • becoming angry or aggressive for little reason; • seeming depressed or very lethargic, tearful or sad; • being reluctant to be left on their own or with certain individuals; and • seeming uncharacteristically jolly and inappropriately lighthearted. What should you do? If you have been affected by elder abuse – whether you are personally coping with abuse or whether you are concerned about the abuse of another - you are not alone. You can speak to someone in confidence, please call the freephone Action on Elder Abuse helpline on 0808 808 8141. If someone is in immediate danger or requires urgent medical attention contact Emergency Services on 999.
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