Elder Abuse

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I am concerned that my elderly neighbour is being mistreated by her adult son who lives with her. He drinks heavily and she always seems afraid of him. She confided in me recently that he threatens her if she does not give him money each week. Is there anything I can do to help her?

Elder abuse is defined as any act, or failure to act, which results in a breach of a vulnerable person’s human rights, civil liberties, physical and mental integrity, dignity or general well-being, whether intended or through negligence, including sexual relationships or financial transactions to which the person does not or cannot validly consent, or which are deliberately exploitative.

There are several forms of elder abuse to include psychological abuse, neglect and acts of omission; financial or material abuse; physical abuse; sexual abuse.

Psychological Abuse:

  • Feeling afraid in your home.
  • Intimidation caused by attitude or behaviour of others


  • Not receiving enough food or drink
  • Being provided with unclean and unsuitable clothing
  • Left alone for long periods if elderly person is immobile.

Financial Abuse:

  • Under pressure to give money to someone else
  • Your money is spent on someone for things other than your bills
  • Under pressure to allow someone else access to your accounts

Physical Abuse:

  • Violent of rough treatment
  • Infliction of pain

I understand that the HSE have an Elder Abuse Service and if you remain concerned about your neighbour it would be advisable to suggest to her that she contact this service for help.

Further, parents may seek protection of the Courts in securing a Protection Order, Safety Order or Barring Order against their adult children over the age of 18 years if necessary. Your elderly neighbour may wish to arrange a consultation with her Solicitor for further advice in this regard.

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