Elder abuse is real: what to look for, where to find help and access to policies

Last month we wrote about elder abuse being a key focus for the NSW Retirement Village regulator. In this edition we share some insights and resources.

Monday was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and the CEO of Dementia Australia, Maree McCabe said:

“Based on international indicators, it is likely that between two per cent and 14 per cent of older Australians experience elder abuse in any given year, with the prevalence possibly higher during a time when people living with dementia were isolating at home.”

Some of the warning signs of elder abuse to look out for include:

  • Unnecessary levels of isolation by a partner, family or friend that go beyond government (COVID-19) restrictions
  • Changes in the older person’s behavior, with the person disengaging from family members, health, aged care and other services
  • The older person being prevented access to potential supports and modes of communication (such as phone or internet)
  • Large sums of money to pay for unspecified items are being requested or spent
  • Making threats of self-harm or expressions of hopelessness

Here are some hotlines that have trained professionals that can assist you with your concerns.

  • ACT – Older Persons Abuse Prevention Referral Line – (02) 6205 3535
  • NSW – NSW Elder Abuse Helpline – 1800 628 221
  • NT – Elder Abuse Information Line – 1800 037 072
  • QLD – Elder Abuse Prevention Unit – 1300 651 192
  • SA – Elder Abuse phoneline – 1800 372 310
  • TAS – Tasmanian Elder Abuse Helpline – 1800 441 169
  • VIC – Seniors Rights Victoria – 1300 368 821
  • WA – Elder Abuse Helpline – 1300 724 679

Elder abuse has been recognised by government and the village sector as an important component of the resident services that Village professionals provide. It is expected that operators have the required Elder Abuse policy and procedures to guide village professionals in these matters.

This will be especially so in becoming Code of Conduct compliant and/or striving to achieve Accreditation.

DCMI Village management professional development participants have access to templates for Elder abuse policy and procedures in the online Resource Bank. Check out our new DCM Institute portal here.

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