Published on 14 June 2022
15 June marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), officially recognised by the United Nations in 2011.
Elder abuse is any act causing harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust, such as a family member or friend.
The abuse may be physical, social, financial, psychological or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect. It can also occur in any relationship where there is a power imbalance.
Rates of elder abuse are under reported, but the Australian Institute of Family Studies estimates up to 14 per cent of older people in Australia are affected.
The warning signs of elder abuse may include an older person seeming fearful, anxious or isolated. There may be injuries, or an absence of personal care. Unexplained changes to legal documents or finances are also of concern. Most elder abuse occurs behind closed doors, so it is important for loved ones to watch out for signs, listen and offer help.
Older people can reduce the risk of elder abuse by making sure their financial, medical, legal and other affairs are in order. They must also be empowered to recognise the signs of elder abuse and encouraged to seek help.
For WEAAD, the Peninsula Advisory Committee for Elders (PACE) will be providing information tables with free resources and support services available to you or anyone you know who may be experiencing elder abuse:
Wednesday 15 June
Rosebud Plaza (McCombe Street, Rosebud)
Thursday 16 June
Hastings Street Market (High Street, Hastings – outside the newsagent)
If you are experiencing elder abuse, or concerned about an older person, you can get help by calling Seniors Rights Victoria on 1300 368 821 Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm, or by visiting seniorsrights.org.au.
For more information about WEAAD, visit elderabuseawarenessday.org.au
Quotes attributable to Mayor Councillor Anthony Marsh:
“As part of Council’s Positive Ageing Strategy 2020-2025, we are working hard to create an age-friendly Mornington Peninsula where older people feel valued, respected and included.”
Quotes attributable to Peninsula Advisory Committee for Elders Council Representative, Councillor Debra Mar:
“This year’s theme for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is ‘elder abuse, everyone’s business’. At the Shire, we also work towards this theme by raising community awareness on the issues of ageism and the need for respectful inclusion.”