A new multi-agency awareness campaign aims to put elder abuse at the top of everyone’s agenda by asking us to be good neighbors, especially during the winter months.
Developed by the Isle of Wight Council in partnership with Inclusion Isle of Wight, Age UK Isle of Wight and Carers Isle of Wight, the campaign will explore a specific topic each week in order to educate, report and raise awareness.
It is also supported by the Alzheimer Society as well as the local Domestic Violence Specialist Support Services Paragon and the Hampton Trust. At its heart is the underlying message that help is closer than you think.
Teresa Brimble-Brennan, head of the council’s domestic violence project, said:
“It’s a very different campaign from what we usually do. We want to reach out to people who may not realize they need help and refer them to local assistance.
“Winter will soon be here and the elderly may feel lonely and isolated again. We want them to realize that even though they don’t have family or friends, they have a community and we are here to help them.
Older people can be particularly vulnerable to abuse and unable to defend themselves. Fear and infirmity can be major barriers to seeking and obtaining help, and it can sometimes be difficult to spot and dispute elder abuse.
The campaign reminds people of this problem and where to go for help if they are, or think they know, someone who experiences this kind of abuse.
Another topic will be dementia awareness and early identification – examining difficult behaviors and how they might be misunderstood.
The campaign also comes at a time when Inclusion, which provides support to those affected by drugs or alcohol, reports an increase in referrals from elderly parents seeking support for their adult child.
The campaign will highlight the support available in situations where a person has had to return home with an elderly relative or move in an elderly relative.
“This campaign is about early intervention and the ability to give something back to our community of seniors who have given so much. This is particularly important on the Isle of Wight which has a higher population of elderly residents than many other areas.
“It’s basically about recognizing that we all need help sometimes and calling on the senior community to reach out and ask for help when they need it. It is also about asking the community to be a good neighbor, especially during the winter months.