Protecting those most vulnerable

According to the National Elder Abuse Prevalence Study, it’s estimated that one in six older Australians has experience abuse, with only one-third of victims seeking help.

Elder abuse can take the form of financial, physical, psychological, or sexual abuse, or neglect. And while it’s often hidden, malnourishment, large bank withdrawals, belongings disappearing, and unexplained accidents are all warning signs something isn’t right.

Elder abuse is an important issue, which is why this World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, 15 June 2022, experts are calling on the community to protect themselves and those most vulnerable from harm.

With many elderly customers frequenting community pharmacies, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is something all pharmacies should get behind, and to recognise the warning signs.

“Research tells us that sadly perpetrators are often adult children, close friends and acquaintances to the person who suffers the abuse,” says Megan Osborne, NSW Trustee & Guardian Acting CEO.

“It’s important to know what the warning signs are. Take notice if an older person doesn’t have money for essentials like food, clothing, bills [and medications].”

It’s also important to encourage older people, in particular, to take steps to protect themselves.

“One important safeguard is to put in place important documents that assist in future decision-making, should you need them,” says Ms Osborne.

“This includes a Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship appointment that lets you choose someone you trust to manage your financial, legal and health decisions if you no longer can.

“A Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship appointment is just as important as having a Will.

“They operate while you are still alive and can detail how you would like important decisions made for you when you can no longer make them yourself.

“Don’t leave them until it’s too late,” says Ms Osborne.

To learn more, visit: tag.nsw.gov.au

If you suspect someone is experiencing elder abuse, contact the Ageing and Disability Abuse Helpline on 1800 628 221.

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