Elder abuse: it’s not just physical

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Published Jun 13 2019

Aged care workers are urging locals to look out for the wellbeing of older people as we approach Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15 June.

A complex and sometimes hidden problem, elder abuse is more than just physical and can include financial, psychological, neglect or sexual abuse. 

Project coordinator of the northern Elder Abuse Prevention Network Julie Watson said it’s important to look out for other signs.

“Signs may include a change in behaviour; sleeping more or less and jumping between tearful and angry. There may be unexplained changes to an older person’s bank account, they may not be able to pay bills or may cancel services and medication.

“Sexual abuse can be hard to talk about, however there are signs like unexplained sexually transmitted diseases, anxiety and sleep disturbance,” said Julie.

To help local workers, the Prevention Network has developed a toolkit that outlines the signs and how to respond.  

“You can talk to the person about the changes or if you’re not comfortable with this, talk to their aged care support worker or call Seniors Rights Victoria,” said Julie.

Older people experiencing abuse, their family or friends can seek help by calling the Seniors Rights Victoria helpline on 1300 368 821. Support is free and confidential.

To access the toolkit call Julie Watson on 1300 637 744.