Elder abuse is any act occurring within a relationship of trust which causes harm or distress, here are the top ten tips to help reduce your risk. Video are given in several languages.
What is elder abuse?
Elder abuse is any act occurring within a relationship of trust which causes harm or distress.
A study by the Australian Institute of Family Studies surveying 7,000 older people between February and May of 2020, found that one in six respondents had experienced abuse in 12 months prior to survey.
In the study, nearly two thirds of older people that experienced abuse said they did not seek help, and the most common form of abuse was psychological, followed by neglect, financial, physical and sexual abuse. More women than men reported experiencing abuse, with women more likely to experience neglect, psychological abuse, or sexual abuse.
People with poor physical and mental health and socially isolated more likely to experience elder abuse, and the perpetrators of abuse are family members and mostly adult children, but can be friends, neighbours and acquaintances.
Types of elder abuse
Financial: Forced changes to legal documents; Misappropriation of money or other assets.
Physical: Slapping, kicking, hitting, bruising; Use of physical restraints
Social: Preventing contact with family or friends; Preventing contact with family or friends
Sexual: Sexual assault or harassment; Inappropriate touching
Emotional: Psychological. Verbal intimidation and humiliation; Threats of various forms
Neglect: Failure to provide the necessities of life; Limiting access to aged care services.
Here are the top ten tips to help reduce your risk
- Do not accept elder abuse. Have ‘zero tolerance’ to elder abuse. Understand and protect your rights
- Stay connected to family, friends and services
- Seek advice if you have concerns
- Future planning is important. Don’t wait for a crisis, think about ‘risks’ and what could go wrong
- Consider key legal documents. For example think about a Power of Attorney, Medical Treatment Decision Maker, a will, Advance care plan and Advance care directive
- Make your wishes and expectations known – have the ‘challenging’ conversation
- Don’t be pressured or intimidated into immediate decisions
- Confirm arrangements in writing but don’t sign documents under duress or pressure
- Take care if considering access to, or transfer of, assets
- Act if you have immediate concerns for safety. Remember to call 000 if you or someone is in immediate danger.
If you fear for your safety or that of someone else, please contact the police in your state or territory, or call Triple Zero (000) for emergency help. The police can also make referrals for support for you. Visit the Elder abuse information page on the Victoria Police website.