In our society, partners, families and friends provide an enormous amount of support for older people. Most of the time, this support is focused on the expressed wishes and needs of the older person and I want to record my appreciation for the great amount of love and care provided by partners, families and friends – in many cases on a daily basis.
However the release of the report of the Royal Commission into Family Violence is a timely reminder that there are older people in Victoria who sadly are at risk of, or experiencing, elder abuse.
Elder abuse is defined as any act which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust, such as family and friends. It is a form of family violence, in that most perpetrators are family members.
Many older people aspire to remain independent in their homes for as long as possible and practicable. Often it is the family, friends and neighbours who actively enhance the quality of life when seniors become frailer – for example, as carers, transport providers, conveyers of information and providers of social support.
Yet, due to the ageing of our population it is clear there will be greater numbers of older people who will live longer, and with higher levels of frailty, in their homes.