Whenever I speak at a meeting of Older Australians, questions are often asked about Elder Abuse. It is an issue of growing concern that now needs significant attention.
Abuse of the elderly usually takes several forms.
The main one is financial and the villains are usually family members. They constantly harass their parents to give them as much money as possible right now to reduce their oversized home mortgages or credit card debts.
To achieve this aim, they often take their abuse to the extent of forcing Dad and Mum to sell their homes and move in with them. Then they get tired of them and make them get out into rented accommodation. This is not a sensational story. I have met personally with Seniors who have gone through this trauma.
It gets worse.
Children are also involved in verbally and physically abusing a parent in a nursing home. They get weary of visiting them there and also get upset when they see the nursing home bills eating away at the estate that they want to get quickly.
They continually use words such as, “Why don’t you please die so we can get on with life?”
Sadly, Oldies abuse one another, particularly when one partner has aggressive dementia, a state of life that is rapidly spreading through society.
However, Elder Abuse takes other forms far too regularly.
One is when an older worker wants to work beyond 65 and is constantly rejected by employers even though they are fit and well and more than qualified. Even governments abuse them by refusing Work Cover if they are over 70.
Some financial advisers are huge culprits. They take advantage of vulnerable, financially naive Seniors in order to earn the largest fees and commissions they can get from high risk investments.
I could go on with other examples such as the appalling sexual abuse of older women by predators who are usually family or neighbours, but we must not get too depressed.
We can turn this around with some enlightened legislation involving all State Governments empowering Police to get involved more easily. We can also encourage Neighbourhood Watch Groups to detect blatant abuse that would otherwise be covered up.
The point for us to remember is that the abusers are no more than 5% of the population. The other 95% are great respecters of age.
We are a humane and caring nation. We just need to sort out the bad eggs in a hurry.
Yours at Large
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