Speak up, stop elder abuse

After being separated by COVID-19 restrictions, now more than ever South Australians are being urged to help spot the signs of elder abuse and speak up.

Office for Ageing Well Director, Cassie Mason, said this year’s Stop Elder Abuse campaign, which begins this week, aims to educate the community on the signs and what they can do to help.

“Distracted by restrictions on our movements and activities, and separated by social distancing requirements, it is easy to retreat into our own worlds and our immediate home circle, as we seek to stay safe and wait out the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Mason said.

“But now more than ever is the time to be alert for signs of elder abuse – that all is not right with those around you – loved ones, neighbours, friends, and patients.

“One in 20 older people in our community is experiencing some form of elder abuse from someone they know and trust, often a member of their own family.

“In South Australia, 50 per cent of cases of elder abuse are financial, often coupled with emotional abuse. Older women are more likely to be experiencing abuse, most commonly from an adult son or daughter.”

In the first six months of the Adult Safeguarding Unit, there have been 474 calls to the SA Elder Abuse Prevention Phone Line.

“With many older people likely to be more vulnerable at this time without their usual supports in place, it’s vital they and those around them continue to call the SA Elder Abuse Prevention Phone Line if they suspect any abuse is occurring,” Ms Mason said.

“Signs of elder abuse can be fear, sadness, and neglect, and forms of abuse include physical, psychological, financial and chemical, such as over or under medication.

“Everyone can help protect the rights of older South Australians by becoming familiar with where to get help and information about signs of elder abuse, risk factors and prevention measures.”

The Stop Elder Abuse campaign runs from 3 May to 15 June, 2020. If you have concerns about your own situation or someone you know, call the SA Elder Abuse Prevention Phone Line on 1800 372 310.

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