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A major point to remember – whether you are personally coping with abuse or whether you are concerned about the abuse of another – is that you are not alone. Abusers very often exploit the fact that someone may be (or feel) isolated. They can encourage, emphasise or create dependency in someone in order to exploit that feeling to their own advantage, and they can ridicule or dismiss your suspicions as a means of stopping you investigating. And, very often, they will rely on someone not disclosing, or the natural disbelief that many people hold when considering elder abuse, in order to keep on abusing.
It is important therefore to protect yourself if you are an older person, and sometimes that can be very simple. It is also important that neighbours, friends, families and practitioners are alert to the possibility of abuse – and are therefore ready to act on concerns or suspicions.
Too often abuse has continued because people spotted something that felt wrong, but took no action as they doubted their own concerns. And sometimes the abuse has then continued for years longer. Being alert to the possibility of abuse is sensible, without needlessly seeing it everywhere. Being prepared to act is prudent.
One key way in which we address elder abuse is through our unique confidential freephone helpline, which provides information, advice and support to victims and others who are concerned about or have witnessed abuse, neglect or financial exploitation.
The helpline is available in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm - and will not show up on your phone bill. Each nation has its own service, and callers can choose their relevant nation at the outset. Click here for more information
AEA are also operating recovery services in a number of areas, and we have plans to expand throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. These involve recruiting and training volunteers who are concerned about elder abuse and who want to practically assist in challenging and addressing this important issue within their areas. The Volunteers pair with victims of elder abuse to help the, recover from the experience and regain control over their lives. Click here for more information.
For further advice see our nation specific sites for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
I Promise is our campaign for organisations or individuals to make a commitment to protect older people from abuse