World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Caring for our older people
Monday 15 June is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Designated by the United Nations General Assembly, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is a day to raise awareness and voice opposition to the abuse of older people.
Every year, one in twenty older people experience some form of abuse at the hands of someone they trust. It is estimated that only one in five cases of abuse against older people is reported, according to the NSW Elder Abuse help line and Resource Unit (EAHRU).
The majority of alleged abusers are trusted family members, neighbours, friends or paid carers. Abuse can happen to anyone.
The Blue Mountains has an aging population, with over residents over 65 representing 15.6% of our population. This is projected to increase to 25% by 2031.
Some signs of abuse of older people include: being told how to spend their own money, or having demands placed on them for an early inheritance, inability to pay for everyday items, appearing withdrawn, isolated and often avoid talking with someone they trust.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic many older people are encouraged to stay at home and remain physically distant from their community. Although this is important health advice, there is now a greater importance for all of us take action if there are concerns about the welfare of an older person, or suspicions of abuse caused by someone they know such as a family member, partner or neighbour.
If you are concerned about yourself or someone you know, you can contact the Ageing and Disability Abuse Helpline on 1800 628 221 (M-F, 9am-5pm). They can provide information and support on how to be safe, how to protect your rights and help connect you or the older person with relevant services. You can also be anonymous when you call.
The Aged and Disability Commission provides comprehensive resources to help you identify the signs of abuse and provide information on where to get help.
For more information contact Council’s Aged and Disability Services Development Officer on Ph: 4780 5546.