Elder Abuse Awareness

What is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse is mistreatment of an older person that is committed by someone with whom the older person has a relationship of trust such as a partner, family member, friend or carer.

Although elder abuse is under-reported, it is estimated that between two and five percent of older people experience abuse. This means approximately 6,000 to 15,000 older Western Australians could be affected.

Research shows:

• Women are more likely to experience elder abuse.
• Elder abuse is most likely to happen to people aged 75 years or more.
• People with reduced decision-making capacity or physical disability are more likely to be at risk of elder abuse.
• The most common risk factors are dependency and isolation.
• Financial/material abuse is most common and usually accompanied by psychological abuse.
• Victims can experience multiple types of abuse simultaneously.
• Perpetrators are most likely to be adult children. Others include spouse/de facto partner, grandchildren.

Types of Elder Abuse

• Financial (taking an older person’s money or property)
• Confidential and independent advocacy and
• Psychological (bullying an older person)
• Physical (pushing, hitting or shoving)
• Social (stopping an older person from seeing friends or family
• Neglect (withholding medication or basic necessities)
• Sexual (inappropriate touching or unsolicited sexual advances)

Signs to watch for include:

• Acting fearfully or withdrawing
• Signs of stress, anxiety or depression
• Bruising or other physical injuries
• An inability to pay normal bills or having unpaid bills
• Marked weight loss
• Changes in sleeping patterns.

Getting Help

Advocare can work with the older adult who is experiencing mistreatment or a representative who is working in the best interests of the older person, such as a family member or friend.

They can:
• Listen to your needs and concerns
• Assist you to fully explore the options available to address the issues
• Provide an opportunity to consider potential benefits and consequences of any actions that can be taken
• Stand by you and provide advocacy where needed

Call the WA Elder Abuse Helpline 1300 724 679 or visit ADVOCARE