Wider definition for ‘vulnerable adult’ needed

There should be a wider definition of what constitutes a
vulnerable adult, according to speakers at Community Care
Live Scotland, writes Roisin

Ann Ferguson, elder abuse project leader at Age Concern
Scotland, said particular attention needs to be paid to the
vulnerability of older people to abuse.

“We have felt that for too long people weren’t
talking about the abuse of older people in Scotland,” she
said. “This is why we have been pressing hard for the
Vulnerable Adults Bill.”

With the bill expected to be published next year, Ferguson said
further consultation on it will be released in the next few

The majority of adults who could be deemed vulnerable are
dependent on someone else, either because of their physical or
mental impairment or because of age. A significant number are
dependent on someone else to look after their finances or for

In over 50 per cent of cases, according to Ferguson, a
vulnerable adult is dependent on someone else for care, finances
and accommodation.

“If we feel we need a definition of a vulnerable adult it
will have to take account of the circumstances and
individual’s life and cannot focus solely on their mental
capacity or eligibility for community care services,” she

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