Every year, approximately 1 in 20 older people will experience some form of mistreatment, abuse or neglect by someone they know or trust. And for every case we know about, another five go unreported.
Elder abuse can occur in a variety of ways—physical, psychological, financial, social (forced isolation), neglect, sexual, chemical or substance abuse. Sometimes, the abuse can be subtle and difficult to recognise but here are some signs to look out for:
- Loss of appetite, dignity or interest in life or personal hygiene
- Feelings of insecurity, guilt, worthlessness, and low self-esteem
- Perceptions of fear, powerlessness and helplessness to change the situation
- Fear that confrontation could result in the loss of the relationship, loss of their home and entry to residential aged care, or harm to pets
- Homelessness, or significant loss of property, assets and finances
- Unwanted entry to residential aged care
- Premature death through neglect.
(Source: SA Health 2019)
If you suspect someone you know is the perpetrator or victim of elder abuse, speak up. Call the South Australian Elder Abuse Prevention Phone Line on 1800 372 310. Between Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, trained staff can provide you with free and confidential advice on how you can help.
Visit opan.com.au/elder-abuse/ for more information.