Protecting yourself and others from abuse

four older people

As we get older, we may need support with carrying out daily living tasks, or with organising our finances. Although most people will be trustworthy, being reliant on other people can make us more vulnerable to abuse.

It is important to take certain steps to stay in control of our own decisions, and to be aware that we always have a right to be listened to and respected.

What is elder abuse?

Abuse can take many forms. It can be financial, emotional, physical or sexual, and it doesn’t always involve a stranger. Abuse stories in the media are often about people having their savings stolen, but any type of abuse is unacceptable.

For example, it could be someone you trust taking cash for themselves when you’ve asked them to do your shopping, or you could be spoken to or touched in a way that makes you feel upset or uncomfortable.

Staying in control of your finances

If someone is helping you to manage your money, make sure you’re aware how it is being spent. Never tell anyone else your Personal Identification Number (PIN), as if you do you won’t have any protection from your bank or building society if money is taken.

If someone does your shopping for you, keep a record of all the things you’ve asked them to buy, and ask them to give you the receipts. The person helping you should discuss everything with you first.

Getting support and advice

If you have been abused, you can get advice and support by calling Age UK Advice on 0800 169 65 65 or Action on Elder Abuse. Be aware that if they think you’re at risk, they have a duty to report it.

However, they should talk to you about how you want to handle it. You can also call your local council’s Adult Safeguarding team – the number should be in your phone book. You can find your local council by searching on GOV.UK.

If you’re worried that someone you know is being abused, you should approach the topic sensitively and encourage the person to talk to someone they trust. It is up to them whether they want to report it.

Further information

opens link in new window Download our information guide Protecting yourself (PDF 308KB)

opens link in new window Download our factsheet Safeguarding older people from abuse (PDF 308KB)

We are grateful for the generous support of Dr Naim Dangoor CBE
and The Exilarch's Foundation

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Age UK Advice:
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Useful information to download

    An information guide with tips on protecting yourself from abuse, and what to do if you or someone else experiences mistreatment.

    opens link in new window Protecting yourself (PDF 308KB)


    A factsheet to help you if you know an older person who is being abused or who may be at risk of abuse.

    A factsheet with more detailed information about how to arrange for someone to look after your money, property and welfare.

    A factsheet that explains in more depth the issues surrounding making a Will.

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