This qualitative study used data from eight focus groups involving 58 people aged over 65 years in both urban and rural settings across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Following training, four older people assisted in facilitation and analysis as peer researchers. Increasing lack of respect within society was experienced as abusive. The vulnerability of older people to abuse was perceived as relating to the need for help and support, where standing up for themselves might have repercussions for the person’s health or safety. Emotional abusiveness was viewed as underpinning all forms of abuse, and as influencing its experienced severity. Respondents’ views as to whether an action was abusive required an understanding of intent: some actions that professionals might view as abusive were regarded as acceptable if they were in the older person’s best interests. Preventing abuse requires a wide-ranging approach including rebuilding respect for older people within society. Procedures to prevent elder abuse need to take into account the emotional impact of family relationships and intent, not just a description of behaviors that have occurred.
- Adult Protection, adult safegurading, ageism, cultural responsiveness, elder