IN recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15), over the coming weeks two local organisations will hold events at community desks in Westfield Woden and Belconnen to provide information and support.
Anyone facing elder abuse or have witnessed it, Michelle Morris, of ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS) says that it’s not always easy to talk about these issues.
“But we are trained, approachable and compassionate people. Help is available and you don’t need to go through this alone,” she says.
Elder abuse is any act that causes 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.
Rates of elder abuse are under-reported, as the Australian Institute of Family Studies estimates up to 14 per cent of older people in Australia are affected.
Michelle says that 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,” she says.
“We encourage people to visit our website, adacas.org.au, and ensure they are aware of their rights and where they can get help if needed.”
Michelle says that ADACAS is partnering with LGBTQIA+ community group, Meridian, to hold two events at community desks in Westfield. They will be at Westfield Woden on June 6 (near Rebel Sport) and Westfield Belconnen on June 15 (near ALDI).
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