Advice on safeguarding and protecting older people
What to do if you are an older person experiencing abuse, or if you believe an older person that you know needs protected.
What is abuse?
Abuse against an older person can take many forms, such as physical, emotional, sexual and financial, as well as through neglect, and the impact of abuse can have devastating consequences for the victim.
What are the signs of abuse?
If you identify with or recognise the behaviours below, you or someone you know may be suffering from abuse.
Signs to be aware of:
- Acting fearfully or withdrawing
- Signs of stress, anxiety or depression
- Bruising or other physical injuries
- An inability to pay normal bills or having unpaid bills
Signs that someone might be abusing an older person include:
- Seeing a person verbally or physically abuse the older person
- A person speaking on behalf of the older person without consent
- Injuries which occur regularly – black eyes, bruises or cuts
- Conflicting stories about injuries
- Unusual difficulty with finances – unpaid bills or debts
How to help safeguard and protect an older person:
- Talk to your solicitor about a will and the need for power of attorney.
- Seek independent legal advice before you sign official documents/papers.
- Use an advocate or advocacy service to help make decisions.
- Look after your health and consult your doctor if your notice any changes in your mood, memory and general physical wellbeing.
- Keep in regular social contact with family, friends and neighbours.
- Consult the police for advice on how to make your home safe.
Useful contact numbers
If it is a medical or police emergency call 999 (24hrs)
If it is not an urgent police enquiry call 101 (24 hrs)
Do you need to report abuse to an Adult protection or safeguarding Coordinator (9am-5pm)
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust: 028 9504 1744
Northern Health and Social Care Trust: 028 9441 3659
Southern Health Social Care Trust: 028 3756 4424
South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust: 028 9266 5181 (Out of hours, 5pm-9am) 028 9056 5444
Western Health and Social Care Trust: 028 8283 5980
Out of hours social services regional number (5pm- 9am)
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust: 028 9504 9999
Northern Health and Social Care Trust: 028 9504 9999
Southern Health and Social Care Trust: 028 9504 9999
South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust: 028 9504 9999
Western Health and Social Care Trust: 028 9504 9999
Do you need more information or advice?
Action on Elder Abuse Helpline (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm)
080 8808 8141
Do you need an Advocate?
Age NI advice and advocacy service (8am-7pm)
0808 808 7575
Do you need legal or financial advice?
Citizen Advice Bureau Northern Ireland
028 9023 6522
Do you want to make a complaint about a Health and Social Care regulated service?
The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (9am- 5pm)
028 9051 7500
Do you need information on age discrimination?
The Equality Commission
028 9050 0600