The UnitingCare network is concerned with the level of elder abuse across the community. Based on the available evidence we note that most abuse is perpetrated by family members, and that the mostly commonly reported forms of abuse are financial and psychological. While the evidence is varied across the nation, the levels of physical abuse and neglect are also of concern.
While we note that the reported incidence of elder abuse within the residential aged care sector is comparatively low, as major providers of aged care services we are always willing to explore to make our residential aged care services even safer, and to improve our capacity to support older people to remain safe at home.
Our Elder Abuse Prevention Unit and services, and the broader network, also stand ready to assist in the development of new approaches to better protect older people in all settings, and to raise community and worker awareness of elder abuse.
The UnitingCare network believes that ageism lies at the heart of elder abuse and effective elder abuse prevention can only be achieved with the support of education and awareness programs that deal with the negative perceptions and assumptions about ageing and older people. The network notes the Respect for Seniors program, run by Uniting, is one such program that focuses on building respect for older people, valuing their contributions and challenging common assumptions. The network is willing to share the experience and knowledge gained from developing and implementing this program.