World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is being recognised locally with a Safety and Rights for Seniors seminar at Carina Bowls Club on Sunday 15th June at 11am.
An initiative of the United Nations, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day aims to provoke conversation and awareness of the issue within communities.
Estimates suggest that around 30,000 Queenslanders over the age of 65 will suffer from some form of elder abuse each year but it is an issue that is grossly under reported because of the complex manner in which abuse can occur.
Financial abuse is the most common form of elder abuse, above physical and psychological, according to William Pixton from Balmoral Rotary Club who is helping organise the seminar.
“Most abuse happens within the family and financial abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse, appearing in around 55% of the calls to the UnitingCare Community Helpline,” Mr Pixton said.
However Val French of Older People Speak Out says that elder abuse goes far beyond the obvious and is much more widespread than most would realise.
She spoke about the pressure caused by cuts to funding for pensioners in the state and federal budgets.
“Even the events of the last few weeks politically are a certain form of elder abuse; I’ve had lots of people call me, frightened that they won’t be able to cope,” Ms French says.
It is an issue that is continuing to grow as the population ages. Mr Pixton says that the best way to prevent elder abuse is to be aware that it is happening and to know what you can do to prevent it.
Ms French would also like to see more awareness of the issue in high schools in an effort to “build the consciousness of our youth”, open their eyes to the issue and allow them to recognise it when they see it in the future.
The seminar is open to those of all ages; not just the elderly and Mr Pixton encourages families and carers to attend and become informed.
There will be four guest speakers; Les Jackson of the Elder Abuse Prevention Unit, Clinton Miles from the Public Trustee, Acting Senior Sargent Elaine Burns from the Queensland Police Service and Neighbourhood Watch and Tim Keeler from Rotary QLD.
The seminar will draw awareness to the issue of elder abuse, provide a wealth of information and support, and create a sense of community for the elderly in which they are able to report any abuse they may be experiencing and feel that they “are not alone” says Mr Pixton.
There will also be a variety of stalls there to provide information on elder abuse, safety, security, finance, law and related services. Among the groups represented are Home Assist Secure, Australian Pensioners & Superannuants League, Elder Abuse Prention Unit, Neighbourhood Watch QLD, LifeTec, Men’s Shed Carina, Queensland Aged & Disability Advocacy and Caxton Legal Centre.
The interactive event is free to attend. The Morningsong Community Choir will be providing entertainment and there will also be lucky seat prizes and a light lunch provided.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07 3348 9545 or 0418113643. To register visit eventbrite.com.au/e/safety-rights-for-seniors-tickets-11487059103