Blue Mountains News

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

By Blue Mountains City Council
Posted: 9 Jun 2024
Saturday 15 June is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).
Saturday 15 June is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).

Designated by the United Nations, WEAAD is marked around the world every year, to raise awareness of elder abuse, educate older people about what elder abuse is and promote the importance of their wellbeing. It’s also an important opportunity for us to stand together against the abuse, mistreatment and neglect of older people.

The majority of abusers are trusted people – family members, neighbours, friends or paid carers. In fact, half of all perpetrators of elder abuse are family members, and only one third of victims seek help.

Elder abuse does not discriminate and is devastating for victims, who are already among the most vulnerable members of our community.

The most common form of abuse suffered is psychological but physical and financial abuse also occurs, as well as neglect.

Blue Mountains Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill expressed his distress at this often-unseen epidemic.

“I call it an epidemic, because sadly it has reached those proportions. A staggering 1 in 6 Australian seniors experience elder abuse. Four years ago, as we were entering the COVID-19 pandemic, that number was 1 in 20,” Mayor Greenhill said.

“We have an ageing population here in the Blue Mountains, which means this issue is affecting many more of our locals than it is around the rest of NSW.

“The over 65s group makes up over 22 per cent of our population. Across NSW that percentage is significantly lower at 17.7 per cent. This is a very real and growing issue that affects our most vulnerable community members in absolutely horrific ways.”

Some signs of abuse of older people include being told how to spend their own money, or having demands placed on them for an early inheritance, inability to pay for everyday items, appearing withdrawn, isolated and often avoid talking with someone they trust.

Support and services are available locally and across NSW to help victims:

  • The Blue Mountains Elder Abuse Collaborative – a partnership of local services and NSW Ageing and Disability Helpline, overseen by Blue Mountains City Council in partnership with the Ageing and Disability Commission. The collaborative can provide resources to help identify and support elder abuse. Contact Prue Hardgrove, Blue Mountains City Council’s Aged and Disability Services Development officer on 4780 5546 or
  • You can pick up a My Wellbeing Checklist bookmark at any Blue Mountains Library branch to learn more about Elder Abuse, and do a wellbeing check for yourself or someone you know.
  • Call the Ageing and Disability Abuse Helpline on 1800 628 221 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm). They can provide information and support on how to be safe, how to protect your rights and help connect you or the older person with relevant services. You can also be anonymous when you call.
 
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