More than half a million older people are abused in the UK every year.
It’s a bleak statistic and one which paints a worrying picture of the way the elderly are treated in 21st century Britain.
Abuse can take place in the victim’s home, in a residential facility or in a hospital. It can be emotional, physical or even financial, and may be deliberate or as a result of someone in a position of trust failing to provide necessary care.
Often, this type of abuse goes unnoticed, with victims feeling too ashamed or scared to speak out.
As elders become more physically frail, they’re less able to stand up to bullying and or fight back if attacked. They may not see or hear as well, or think as clearly as they used to, leaving openings for unscrupulous people to take advantage.
The police, social services and the voluntary sector can all do more to tackle the problem – but looking out for someone who is being mistreated is everyone’s business.
For many of us, Christmas is one of the few periods of year when we can spend quality time with elderly relatives. And the festive season provides the opportunity to make sure our older loved ones are not suffering abuse.
How can you tell if a loved one has been abused?
According to charity Elder Abuse, it’s vital you are alert to the possibility of abuse – and are therefore ready to act on concerns or suspicions. Too often abuse continues because a relative or friend spots a warning sign but takes no action. It’s vital you are alert to the possibility of abuse and are prepared to act.
The charity advises speaking to the older person about what you have noticed, always remembering to be as open and honest as possible. Victims may ask you to promise not to tell anyone else about the abuse. But whether you are a practitioner, friend or relative, you should always be honest and never make false promises – sometimes the abuse might affect more than one person and you will have a responsibility to other people too.
There are physical symptoms that can suggest foul play. Illness, weight gain or loss and a decline in hygiene can signify a problem, as can inadequate or unclean clothing.
Remember, of course, to enjoy your time with an elderly relative or friend this Christmas – but be vigilant to ensure they are not suffering abuse of any kind.
How can our personal injury lawyers help?
Discovering that a parent or elderly loved one has suffered abuse is extremely distressing, especially if the professionals entrusted with their care are responsible.
Our personal injury solicitors can help you to secure compensation from the organisation responsible, if you wish to follow this course of action, and any compensation obtained can help to fund future care needs.
Cases of this nature can be complex, especially if the victim has dementia, which is why it’s vital you have expert legal guidance at every step of the process.
Gotelee specialises in representing clients who have suffered as a result of abuse or neglect while in the professional care of a residential care home.
We offer a free initial appointment to assess your claim and discuss the likely prospect of success. We are able to offer a fully insurance protected No-Win No-Fee conditional fee agreement and will explain to you the best options available for funding your claim.
To find out more, call us on 01473 298 125 or complete our online enquiry form.