Action on Elder Abuse Scotland wants the abuse of vulnerable people to be made a statutory aggravating offence in law, estimating that about 100,000 older people in Scotland suffer some form of abuse each year.
The charity said a recent review of hate crime laws in Scotland, carried out by Lord Bracadale, had paved the way for the change.
The review’s recommendations called on ministers to consider a general aggravation covering exploitation and vulnerability.
Lord Bracadale also concluded that there should be a new statutory aggravation based on “age hostility”.
The charity, which holds its annual conference in Glasgow on Monday, said Scotland had the opportunity to lead the UK on the issue, and urged Older People and Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie to act.
It highlighted that many cases involving victims suffering from frailty or dementia do not reach the attention of the police or courts, and those that do often result in community sentences.