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What's it all about?

Our Recovery Project is an innovative means of supporting older people to recover from harmful experiences, and develop the skills and confidence to regain independence and stay safe in the future. 

Support is provided by trained local volunteers, who support the older person in their own home or a neutral environment of their choosing. The older person will tell us what they want to get out of the process, and with the help of their volunteer, will identify a series of goals to work towards.

While this project includes an element of befriending, it goes much further by focusing on recovery, building resilience and self-recovery, and enabling older people to regain their independence and re-integrate into their local community. It therefore includes defined milestones to allow clients to move on and no longer require the support of the volunteer.

Empowerment is at the heart of the project, and our volunteers will work with the older person to support and encourage them to make decisions and take actions themselves.

Who can take part?

Older people meeting the following criteria can participate:

  • aged 55 or over and living in Fife
  • have capacity to consent to participation in the project
  • have experienced some form of harm or abuse (this might include financial, emotional, physical, sexual or neglect)

It is not necessary for the client to have reported the harm/abuse to social work or the police to be able to participate in the project.

What support is provided?

Older people are matched with trained 'peer' volunteers to support them in their recovery.  Volunteers could be someone who has experienced abuse themselves, someone of a similar age, or someone with similar interests. The key factor is that the older person is matched with someone they feel comfortable with, supporting them in an informal, supportive and non-threatening environment.

The older person chooses what sort of support they would like, but this might include:

  • friendship and emotional support
  • help to develop the skills to become more confident and resilient
  • supporting the older person to gain or regain independence 
  • taking part in activities together
  • helping the older person to develop a support network or more social opportunities
  • support to build resilience and self-confidence

We'll work to engage the older person with their local community as much as possible, encouraging them to take part in the things they used to do, as well as introducing them to new activities and social groups.

Some of our Project volunteers and staff

Benefits of the project

Historically there has been a limited focus on the long term impact elder abuse has upon victims. The focus of statutory support has been to remove the victim from the abusive situation and ensure their safety. However, many victims are left emotionally and psychologically traumatised, and a recent study found that 76% of elder abuse survivors suffer from serious emotional and social side-effects. These people need support to help them recover, and this type of support is not currently provided by statutory or third sector agencies. Our project addresses this gap and facilitates survivors’ journeys towards full recovery.

Those who will benefit from the project include:

  • Victims of abuse whose health and well-being will be improved. Clients will:

    • reach full recovery from the emotional and psychological effects of abuse

    • regain their independence, confidence and reintegrate into their local community

    • gain the the tools and capabilities to protect themselves in the future 

  • A reduction in reliance on health and social care services by victims;

  • Cost savings will accrue to existing local services where the need for adult safeguarding has been prevented;

  • The Police, NHS and other care professionals will have a cost effective referral service that they can use to help and support victims.

Picture of elder abuse recovery client

How we're already helping

Find out more about some of the older people we're currently helping on our case studies page

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