The Sydney Morning Herald has commented on the challenges of Australia’s rapidly ageing population as often being talked about in terms of healthcare costs or keeping older people in work. But Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan says a forgotten challenge is protecting older people from abuse. “It’s an awful thing to have to confront but it’s there and we’re not doing enough about it,” Ms Ryan said.
According to the World Health Organisation, as of October 2015, around one in 10 older people experience abuse every month. This can involve physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse or neglect in any relationship “where there is an expectation of trust” – such as a family member, carer or friend.
When setting up an elder abuse helpline in 2013, the NSW government said that as many as 50,000 people over the age of 65 in the state had experienced some form of abuse or neglect.
Ms Ryan added that the number of people currently aged over 85 is expected to double over the next 40 years, and that a human rights-based approach would empower older people to “speak out and seek help”. The NSW Parliament last month set up an inquiry into elder abuse to look at the prevalence of abuse, effectiveness of current laws, and what more could be done toward tackling elder abuse.
How do you believe this growing problem could be resolved?
Read the Sydney Morning Herald article here.