The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) marked World Elder Abuse Awareness Day last week (15 June) by encouraging the public to challenge ageism and help raise awareness of the rights of older people.
Minister for Seniors, Natalie Ward said increasing awareness and challenging age-based discrimination were key to preventing elder abuse.
“It’s up to all of us to help detect, address and prevent elder abuse,” Mrs Ward said.
“Everyone deserves to live happily as they age, free from fraud, abuse or exploitation,” she said.
“Increasing awareness and challenging age-based discrimination are key to prevention, so we must all positively shift the way we perceive and experience growing older.”
Mrs Ward said elder abuse could manifest as anything from inequality and ageism to mistreatment and neglect, and could be psychological, social, physical, sexual or financial.
“As soon as we associate older age with being incapable, we begin to excuse the rights of older people,” the Minister said.
She said reports to the Ageing and Disability Commission predominantly related to allegations of abuse against older people, particularly women, and psychological and financial abuse were the most commonly reported.
NSW Commissioner for Ageing and Disability, Robert Fitzgerald said the Awareness Day was an opportunity for people to voice their opposition to the abuse of older people.
“Everyone must recognise that older people have the right to make decisions about their own life,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
“When this is denied, we start to see the beginning of abuse,” he said.
Mr Fitzgerald said everyone had a responsibility to support older people and promote their right to live with dignity and respect in their family, home and community.