Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) and is commemorated each year on 15 June to highlight one of the worst manifestations of ageism and inequality in our society, elder abuse.
Elder abuse is any act which 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. In many parts of the world elder abuse occurs with little recognition or response. It is a global social issue which affects the health, well-being, independence and human rights of millions of older people around the world, and an issue which deserves the attention of all in the community. It is estimated that it affects 1 in 20 older people in Western Australia.
I am proud that one of my first acts as a new Councillor in 2015 was to motion that the City needed to develop an Active Ageing/Age Friendly Strategy. Through this now adopted plan the City has developed some great programs such as the Fit for Life and the Age Friendly Ambassadors to name just two. These are just parts that help our older community stay connected.
There is no simple or single solution to prevent elder abuse, but mitigating the risk factors that are known abuse precursors is the best method of prevention.
• Encourage the older person to be socially connected by being an active member of their community. • Suggest regular engagement with family, friends and neighbours. • Advise connection with community groups, churches and social services local to the older person. • If there is cognitive impairment, support the older person directly or assist them to find an advocate who can help them with issues regarding their living arrangements, belongings and finances. • Advocate for caregiver support interventions, such as regular support and respite for the older person's carer.
If you would like some more information on WEADD, please follow this link: