Sounding the silent alarm on elder abuse (BPA discussion paper)

In the last twelve months Better Place Australia has had a 300% increase in demand for its elder abuse support services across Melbourne. Every day Better Place support workers are responding to incidents of daughters or sons abusing their parent(s) (usually their mother in her 80’s) financially and psychologically. Unfortunately, Better Place workers are also responding to older women experiencing intimate partner violence.

Dominique, a Better Place support worker who works daily with victims of Elder Abuse, has observed, “The tragic situation is that older people often face feelings of guilt, obligation, and concern at the well-being of their older children despite the abuse.”

Ageism is a driving factor of elder abuse, and this is further compounded by lockdowns and social distancing.

“Ageism is an accomplice of elder abuse,” says Serge Sardo, CEO of Better Place Australia. “These attitudes often lead to situations where adult children feel like they are entitled to their parents’ wealth and assets. They have no qualms about their depriving their parent or parents of a basic quality of life.”

The lack of public awareness on this invisible social issue means that the alarm is not being heard.

Read the Elder Abuse discussion paper.

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