Know the signs of elder abuse
AT ANY time up to 14 per cent of older Australians are likely the subject of abuse according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day that highlights the rights of older people.
Relationships Australia Queensland regional manager Valerie Holden said elder abuse is a complex issue, with no clear single type of victim or perpetrator.
“It’s a topic which can be really hard to talk about, but it is something we all need to be aware of,” Ms Holden said.
“It can take a range of forms including physical, financial, emotional, social and sexual abuse, along with neglect.”
During COVID-19, Relationships Australia Queensland has seen a considerable number of people experiencing financial hardship and social isolation which can lead to inheritance impatience, family conflict, breakdown in relationships and sometimes elder abuse.
“We know that financial abuse is the most commonly reported form of elder abuse.
“This includes pressuring, threatening or coercing an older person to make decisions that aren’t in their best interests.
“Older people can be vulnerable to abuse through lending money to loved ones, shared living arrangements and by not having independent financial and legal arrangements in place.”
Other signs of elder abuse include neglect, financial stress, feeling disconnected, feeling fearful or unexplained injuries.
“We know one of the best protective factors in preventing older people from experiencing abuse is strong and regular social connections with their loved ones, friends, neighbours, care workers and with their wider communities.”
Relationships Australia has a local team that provides support to seniors who are experiencing or at risk of elder abuse.
“We realise the COVID-19 environment physical distancing measures have meant that many of these opportunities for social connection have disappeared but encourage everyone ... to get familiar with the signs as a safeguard,” Ms Holden said.
Relationships Australia Queensland is at 10 Tank St.
It can also be contacted on 1300 063 232 to make an appointment or get the Recognise the Signs Fact sheet.