Festive Season Brings Ripe Conditions for Elder AbuseThu, 15 Dec 2016
A national elder abuse report released today has shown elder abuse is skyrocketing in Australia.
A staggering 15,757 information calls and advocacy cases were made to elder abuse helplines across Australia, compared to 10,243 from the previous year.
The report explains that the impact of elder abuse can be substantial to individuals and families, and raising awareness is crucial in reducing these rising statistics.
Acting CEO of Western Australia’s peak elder abuse agency, Lisa Dwyer, says elder abuse is both avoidable and remediable.
“During the festive season in particular, it is an absolute must for loved ones, neighbours and aged care workers to be on the lookout for telltale signs of abuse,” she said.
According to Relationships Australia, Christmas is the most likely time of year for Australians to suffer from feelings of stress and financial pressure.
Seniors will often spend more time with relatives, and the increased pressures felt around this time can result in the creation of the perfect breeding ground for elder abuse.
When an older person is physically present in family settings during the festive season, they can more readily be intimidated, coerced and convinced to agree to or sign agreements that do not serve their own interests.
Alarmingly, 60% of perpetrators are sons and daughters with financial and psychological remaining the top two most common forms of abuse.
Symptoms might include increased stress levels in a senior person, tension within family settings, or unexplainable changes in an elderly person’s financial situation.
“It is essential that elderly people are not left to fend for themselves when they are already some of the most vulnerable among us. If they are being taken advantage of, it doesn’t matter whether it is close family members who are at fault, these people simply must be reported,” said Mrs Dwyer.
Since the inaugural report in 2013, almost 20,000 seniors have required support in the last three years.
Elder abuse helplines operate in every state, and are staffed by experienced and professional advocates. If you, or someone you know, need support, call the WA Elder Abuse Helpline on 1300 724 679.