Elder abuse is the mistreatment of an elderly person in any relationship of trust that causes harm or distress to an elderly person. Elder abuse interferes with an elderly person’s dignity, independence and right to feel safe. The effects of elder abuse can be serious and destructive to an elderly person’s quality of life as they can lead to psychological, physical and financial decline coupled with heightened feelings of stress, dependency and helplessness.
Elder Abuse can take many forms including physical, social, financial, psychological and sexual abuse. Elder abuse can also occur as a result of intentional or unintentional neglect. Just a few examples of actions that may constitute elder abuse include:
- Using an elderly person’s assets for personal benefit.
- Forcing an elderly person to make changes to their will or sign other legal documents.
- Misuse of an Enduring Power of Attorney by taking money or property.
- Inappropriate touching.
- Preventing an elderly person from getting food, medications, accessing funds or seeing family or friends.
This betrayal of trust is a rising epidemic and is often committed by a partner, family member, friend or carer who are in a position of trust. Some abusers have even been found to have ‘groomed’ an elderly person to build a relationship of trust, and then later abuse it. An elderly person may become more vulnerable to abuse due to physical and cognitive impairments. As a result, they may be less likely to realise that what is happening to them is not okay, and may not be legal. At Vaarzon-Morel Solicitors we are committed and equipped to protecting the rights and dignity of the elderly.
Abuse of the elderly is often unrecognised and unreported, but does not have to be! If you believe that you or an elderly loved one is being mistreated, the legal options available will depend on the particular context and circumstances.
Due to the size of our firm, the team at Vaarzon-Morel Solicitors can provide personalised advice relevant to your concerns. We can also assist in putting in place wills, power of attorney, and guardianship arrangements to further secure what you or your loved ones care about the most.