Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, a day when people around the world pause to acknowledge the fact that older people continue to be susceptible to particular forms of abuse and to rally in support of change.
Sadly, elder abuse can manifest in a number of ways, spanning financial, emotional, psychological or physical forms of abuse. All too frequently, elder abuse is perpetrated by a person on whom an older person depends, such as a close friend or family member.
"Elder abuse often occurs within a family setting,” says COTA NSW CEO Ian Day. “Typically, adult children who are in the role of carer perpetrate abuse."
Mr Day notes that social isolation is a key enabler of elder abuse, and therefore needs to be a focus point in the fight for real change.
"Often, both the abuser and abused lack contact with other members of their family and community. Addressing the social isolation that many older people - and their carers - experience would help to reduce its prevalence.”
Mr Day noted that community awareness of elder abuse is increasing, but believes much more needs to be done to enable members of the community to prevent abuse from occurring.
"What we need is a whole-of-community response to elder abuse that allows us to not only assist the victims of elder abuse after the fact, but prevent the abuse from occurring. The Elder Abuse Helpline established by the NSW Government is a great resource. To support this, a community education campaign to increase the public’s awareness of it would be a welcome development.”
To find out more about the Elder Abuse Helpline go to: www.elderabusehelpline.com.au
COTA NSW CEO Ian Day will speak this Thursday at the expert panel discussion “Understanding Elder Abuse” being run by the North Sydney Council. For more information visit: North Sydney Council event - Understanding Elder Abuse
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