Safeguarding vulnerable elderly people

Sadly, there are people who will take advantage of the frail and elderly either using physical or mental abuse or fraud. In this blog, we look at just some of the types of abuse and what protection there is in place. Types of abuse range from:

  • Financial: having money or property stolen, being defrauded or ‘scammed’, being put under pressure in relation to money or other property or having money or other property misused. Warning signs include lack of heating, clothing or food, inability to pay bills or unexplained money shortages, unexpected withdrawals from accounts, recent addition of authorised signers on a signature card, or sudden or unexpected changes in a will or other financial documents.
  • Physical and psychological abuse can include everything from actual physical or sexual assault to humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, and harassment. Also includes verbal abuse, cyber bullying, and isolation,
  • Domestic abuse usually involves a partner using violence, psychological, sexual, financial, and emotional abuse.

There are also more subtle forms of abuse such as discrimination and slurs about the person’s age, gender identity, race, religion, or ethnicity.

Abuse can also mean neglect, whether by carers, family or medical professionals and can include withholding medication or other aids such as hearing aids, walking aids or dentures.

What can be done about abuse?

Investigation is the responsibility of the local authority regardless of whether it is providing care services or not. If the victim is experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, abuse or neglect and cannot protect themselves because they have health or social care needs, the local authority has a duty to carry out a safeguarding enquiry. Depending on the outcome of the inquiry, it may be necessary to involve the police or the Care Quality Commission in providing a solution and further support and to punish the perpetrators.