The Peel Senior Relationship Service recently hosted a special forum to promote community education and networking about elder abuse and the issues impacting seniors.
Guest speakers included Human Rights Consultant, Author and Activist Danielle Greenwood and Relationships Australia National Policy Manager Dr Susan Cochrane.
Charmaine Kennedy, Manager of the Peel Senior Relationship Service, said they wanted to highlight the importance of early intervention strategies and start a dialogue with government and non-government agencies to inform future policy.
Representatives from Older Persons Advocacy Network, Advocare, Older People’s Rights Service, the Labour and Liberal parties and Mandurah Police are among some of the invited people who will be attended this closed forum.
“We hope that by doing this we are able to increase the awareness of elder abuse and the gaps in service delivery to tour audience, and collaborate with other local community services to make the seniors experience seamless when they reach out for support, Ms Kennedy said.
She said it has been a unique year for program, as they adapted to online and telephone service delivery.
“It was challenging as we could no longer offer face to face office or home consultations, and COVID-19 prevented us seeing clients in aged care facilities.
“However, by utilising new technology, we were able to overcome these barriers and offer significant assistance to the most vulnerable clients living in Elder Abuse situations.
“As our work involves significant collaboration with government and other agencies, we found we actually strengthened these working relationships as we were all experiencing similar practitioner constraints due to the restrictions.”
Since 2019 the service has supported more than 140 people – which include individuals, partners, carers and family members - to find solutions to ageing-related issues.
Ms Kennedy said they received an influx of referrals following the lifting of the COIVD-19 restrictions as well as increased reports from the Police, the local Magistrates Court and community agencies.
“It is possible that being isolated led to heightened risks, which resulted in clients wanting assistance for change,” she said.
“In many cases, early intervention with case management support can mean mediation may not be required, and the risk elder abuse, including emotional and financial abuse, is reduced.”
The Peel Senior Relationship Service helps seniors make informed decisions on a range of ageing-related issues and offers free one-on-one counselling and mediation for victims and their families. You can attend the services on your own, with your partner, a carer or advocate, as a family, or your children or parents can come by themselves.
The service provided at no cost to those living in the Peel region.
What to do if you suspect Elder Abuse.
- While elder abuse can be distressing, if you suspect someone may need support, ask about the person’s well-being – be quick to listen and don’t judge.
- Take note of signs and symptoms that may help those who investigate and reassure the older person that there is help available and provide them the contact details of a relevant support organisation.
- If someone is in immediate danger, call 000.