ELDER abuse is rife because there is no legislated system of monitoring in-home elder care and no set patient-nurse ratio to protect the needs of those susceptible to abuse in aged care.
No mandatory reporting system is in place to reduce the risk to the vulnerable in private care.
Unlike regimented childcare centres, adoption, and fostering and a rigid regime for those on government DOCS child watch, seniors are our society’s most vulnerable demographic.
Those who cannot speak for themselves are left to the mercy of those who can.
Like bullying, it is an indirect attack on those who cannot fight back and who aren’t protected by legislation, especially in their own homes, by their own families.
They can suffer physical, psychological, emotional and financial abuse, with few advocates ready to protect them, relying rather on the goodwill, compassion and decency of others.
Those cases reported are just the tip of the iceberg.
Many don’t complain through fear of reprisal or under threat of abandonment or abuse.
With a rise in dementia and Alzheimer’s, lack of family support systems and families with a sense of entitlement to the family inheritance, in many cases, the elderly face many hurdles when they can no longer care for themselves.
They are the voiceless within a society, where the currency is youthfulness and the old-age are scorned.
Virtually at the mercy of others, some of whom they may not even know, they have few options.
A rise in internet fraud, targeting superannuation and seniors in particular, has netted millions of dollars from the naive, who are easily tricked into giving personal details to those who purport to be officials.
This is but the financial abuse they suffer.
To suffer at the hands of one of their own, must be the most devastating and unconscionable.
A society is judged on how it treats its most vulnerable.
The buck stops with the government to protect these who made Australia the great nation it is, when they have few dedicated advocates.
ELOISE ROWE Marcoola
DOLLS AND BEARS: The Sunshine Coast Doll, Bear, Craft and Miniature Club’s annual show takes place from 9am to 3pm on Saturday, July 22 at the Buderim War Memorial Hall. There will be trade tables, demonstrations and more. Entry is $5 for adults and $1 for children under 14. Phone 5451 1106 to find out more.