She'll be AlrightAlex Matthews’ new book, She’ll Be Alright, uses real life case studies of neglect to explore the issue of elder abuse in care homes. He speaks from experience: the case studies are based upon his time working in a care home and the neglect and abuse he witnessed there.

Elder abuse is a serious and wide-ranging problem. In an aging society with a growing number of people needing care, care homes- supposed areas of safety and protection- are not always living up to these expectations. The charity Action on Elder Abuse believes over 500,000 elderly people are subjected to abuse in the UK each year, with the number rising per minute. Hidden abuse leaves no physical scars but can lead, in some extreme cases, to death. 

Alex Matthews was a teacher for almost 20 years across the world but in 2016 began training to be a care manager, with a particular interest in researching alternative models for elderly care through focusing on best practice and revealing hidden neglect. As a newcomer to working in a care home, he was shocked by the treatment of the elderly when he started work: abuse was not only a regular occurrence but was supported by the management, whose focus was ticking boxes and not the protection and support of some of the most vulnerable in society. Not knowing what action to take, he documented the abuse and eventually resigned.

The case studies that feature in She’ll Be Alright are witness accounts of his time in a care home. Not only do they document the abuse, but they also tell the reader exactly what legislation is being violated in every single example of abuse. These case studies reveal the level of hidden abuse in the care home, and aim to draw attention to these stories of vulnerable people without a voice who would otherwise suffer silently in their last years.

The case studies take a clinical subject yet approach it through stories, making it accessible, relevant and real. It is an extremely valuable training tool for carers and care managers, demonstrating what to watch out for to prevent hidden abuse. It is also a resource for the public, to support them in protecting elderly relatives or friends.

Alex Matthews hopes that She’ll be Alright “will help some members of the general public to learn how to protect their elderly relatives from abuse, should they need it.”

Alex also hopes that this resource can help prevent elder abuse in the UK, and that by exposing what happened in the care home he worked in, he can raise awareness in both professionals and the general public. His poignant recollection of the abuse he saw is sure to demonstrate exactly what is happening and help support efforts to protect older people still at risk.

You can find out more about the She’ll Be Alright book here.