AS our population continues to age the issue of Elder Abuse is unfortunately becoming more relevant.
I received a phone call this week from a woman who was trying to help an elderly friend who she believed was under threat from her adult children.
She expressed her frustrations at not been able to speak out and assist the woman and how she had been told never to go and see her friend again by the family.
It prompted the following story to clearly explain just what Elder Abuse is and the many forms it can take.
Elder abuse is a single or repeated act—or lack of appropriate action—occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.
It is more common than you think with one in six older Australians reporting that they are experiencing abuse.
Perpetrators are often in the family, most commonly adult children.
Unfortunately, almost two thirds of older people don’t seek help when they are abused.
Elder abuse can take many forms including:
Psychological or emotional abuse is an act that causes emotional pain or injury to an older person.
It includes insults or threats, humiliation or disrespect and controlling behaviours such as confining or isolating.
Financial abuse is the misuse or theft of an older person’s money or assets.
It includes, but is not limited to, using finances without permission, using a legal document such as an enduring power of attorney for purposes contrary to the interests of the older person, withholding care for financial gain, and selling or transferring property against the older person’s wishes or without the person’s knowledge.
Physical abuse is an act that causes physical pain or injury to an older person. It includes, but is not limited to, actions such as hitting, pushing or kicking. Inappropriate use of drugs or physical restraints is also an example of physical abuse.
Sexual abuse is any sexual behaviour performed without an older person’s consent. It includes sexual contact and non-contact acts of a sexual nature that cause an older person to feel uncomfortable or threatened.
Forcing someone to become isolated by restricting their access to others including family, friends or services. This can be used to prevent others from finding out about the abuse.
Elder Abuse Helpline 1300 651 192