Dementia Australia is calling for people living with dementia to be a focus of this year’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15 June.
Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe says that elder abuse is a serious issue that impacts the wellbeing of a large number of older Australians, especially those who are living with dementia.
“Based on international indicators, it is likely that between two per cent and 14 per cent of older Australians experience elder abuse in any given year, with the prevalence of neglect possibly higher,” Ms McCabe said.
Elder abuse is any act, including lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person. Elder abuse can take various forms such as physical, psychological or emotional, sexual and financial abuse. It can also be the result of intentional or unintentional neglect.
“People living with dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment have a heightened risk of abuse as they may find it difficult to comprehend, recall, or report their abuse. We know it can take many forms and be perpetuated by family members, formal or informal carers,” Ms McCabe said.
“While the issue of elder abuse has risen in profile, largely thanks to the statements about abuse by some witnesses appearing before the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, momentum for change cannot be lost. Improved levels of training, education and support for people working with or caring for someone living with dementia is needed to minimise the risk of abuse.”
Dementia Australia provides a range of education and services to help people working with or caring for people living with dementia, to enhance the quality of life of the person living with dementia and the carer and reduce the potential for abuse.