[ASC-media] National Ageing Research Institute says: Elder Abuse Needs to be put on the National Agenda (Friday 14 June is World Elder Abuse Day)

MediaWise mediawise at mediawise.net.au
Thu Jun 13 03:09:15 CEST 2013

A call for a stop elder abuse campaign to be placed on the national agenda
has been made by the National Ageing Research Institute.

Clinical Associate Professor Briony Dow is urging Government to find new
ways of combating elder abuse in Australia.

Dr Dow said: ³We don¹t know how common severe carer neglect is in Australia.
Unlike the UK we¹ve carried out no national prevalence study of elder abuse
despite the obvious benefits of knowing more about the size and nature of
this type of abuse.²

³Friday 14 June is World Elder Abuse Day and what better time for the
government to acknowledge that Australia should take this issue more
seriously and put in place more effective ways to prevent, detect and manage
the range of abusive situations that older people experience.²

According to Dr Dow, there are many ways in which abuse is perpetuated and
experienced by older people, each of which requires different legal, policy
and service responses. These include:

·       Victims of financial and other abuse from middle-aged offspring who
have problems with drugs, alcohol and/or gambling.

·       Where the carer finds it difficult to manage the person they are
caring for, perhaps due to repetitive or aggressive behaviours, and they
lash out verbally or physically.

·       Abuse, most often perpetuated by men against women, which is the
continuation of or a new intimate partner violence.

·       Routine abuse that occurs in care facilities, not giving people
adequate assistance or time to eat; focusing on tasks, not relationships;
ignoring request for help, leading to older residents feeling isolated,
diminished, anxious or depressed.
Dr Dow added that another immediate need was for health professionals to be
educated about what constitutes abusive behaviour.

³Our research showed that 40% of 120 health professionals did not believe
that it was abusive for a son to lock his mother in the house alone all day
while he went to work.

The National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) is the largest independent
research institute in ageing in Australia. NARI focuses on
multi-disciplinary translational research under an independent governance
structure, as well as providing training and education to professionals in
the sector.  It aims to be the centre of excellence in Australia for
research into ageing and improving the quality of life and health of older
people. A pioneer in Australia for ageing research, NARI is recognised
nationally and internationally for its work.

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