Quality care standards and the prevention of elder abuse

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse is a violation of an elderly individual's civil and human rights. One definition that is commonly used, comes from the Toronto Declaration on the Global Prevention of Elder Abuse, 2002. Elder abuse is described as, 'as a single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person.' Elder abuse can take various forms: psychological (mental, emotional), physical (also medical) financial or material, sexual or discriminatory, or simply reflect intentional or unintentional neglect. 

The scale of the problem

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) have recognised the abuse of older people as a significant global problem. Although the phenomenon has begun to receive increasing attention in recent years, research into its causes, its prevalence, and means to tackle it remains scarce and diffuse.

Any instance of elder abuse is an unacceptable violation of the most basic human rights and an infringement of Article 25 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights which recognizes and respects the rights of older people to lead lives of dignity and independence, and to participate in social and cultural life. 

Quality standards for elder care

AGE has been working to push for the introduction of European quality care standards for community and residential eldercare services as a step towards tackling abuse in institutional settings, and to ensure that older people receive the standard of treatment they deserve.


European Charter of the Rights and Responsibilities of Older People in Need of Longterm Care and Assistance

The European project Daphne-Eustacea, coordinated by AGE and co-funded through the European Commission's Daphne Programme, has led to the drafting of a European Charter of the rights of vulnerable older people. The charter is accompanied by a toolkit, and aimed to pave the way for recommendations on quality care standards.

For more information on the charter and toolkit: http://www.age-platform.eu/en/age-projects/78-previous-projects/659-daphne  

European quality framework for long-term care

As a continuation of the Eustacea project, AGE has led the WeDO - For the Wellbeing and Dignity of Older People (2010-2012) whose objective was the development of a European partnership to promote dignified ageing and quality long-term care across Europe (with EU and national coalitions) and the drafting of a voluntary European Quality Framework for Long-Term CareThis document aims to be used as a reference document to improve long-term care and fight elder abuse at European and national level.


Useful links:


Contact person: Maude Luherne, Project Coordinator, maude.luherne@age-platform.eu 

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The contents of the articles are the sole responsibility of AGE Platform Europe and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.