Elderly Abuse – LOOK, LISTEN, REPORT!

Health care professionals working in the aged care industry are required to report suspected cases and signs regarding elder abuse.

Studies coming from the Australian Gerontology Association have shown that the chances of an elder reporting the abuse directly is less likely to happen due to extenuating circumstances such as fear of retribution, being dependent on the abuser or loss of contact with their loved ones. Calls coming to state-assisted elder abuse hotlines indicate that the majority of the elder abuse happened at home and by someone they know- their spouse or an adult son or daughter.

Aged communities and workers are well-placed to see the potential signs of elder abuse.

Many aged care training organisations have implemented mandatory training for detection of abuse to ensure the staff understands their critical role or reporting suspected abuse. Instead of trying to determine whether or not a case is worth reporting their superiors or managers to, they are asked to immediately relay the information to their managers, which in turn will determine whether an escalation is necessary. NSW Elder Abuse Hotline manager Kerry Marshall states their organization has adequate training for staff and aged care providers, including a 1-hour introductory course and a 3-hour face-to-face elder abuse training.

The most common elder abuse types are psychological (35%), financial (37%) and physical (9%). Most abuse cases involved more than one kind of abuse. With a rise of financial abuse it is important to keep an eye out for some of the warning signs. This could include, PIN codes being given, an elderly person having difficulty with banking transactions and new or unfamiliar signature on cheques.