It will make you feel icky. Trust me.

There are subjects to be discussed, which are complex, challenging and frankly make you feel a little icky. Doesn't mean we shouldn't. I am reading reports, stories, research and statistics about abuse. Elder abuse.

(I didn't really know my father, but my mum, well she is my confidante, biggest fan and like many mother-daughter relationships - 'it's complicated'. I am remembering those times as a petulant teenager or young woman trying to find my way, when I was patronising, sarcastic or didn't call her for weeks on end as 'punishment' . . . )

So what is elder abuse?

Seniors Rights Service (SRS) supports the definition of elder abuse in the NSW Interagency Protocol:

While abuse is a term that can mean different things to different people, it is fundamentally a violation of an individual’s human rights by another person or persons. Abuse can take many forms including, but not limited to, abuse of older people by a friend, relative, carer, paid or unpaid worker, partner abuse, abuse of parents by adult children and sexual abuse. Abuse of older people is any behaviour that causes physical, psychological, financial or social harm to an older person.

Who are the perpetrators of elder abuse?

According to the NARI (National Ageing Research Institute) Report “Understanding Elder Abuse: A Scoping Study”, Prepared by Melanie Joosten, Freda Vrantsidis and Briony Dow, NARI 2017.

· 66.8% of abuse is perpetrated by a child of the older person

· In cases of physical abuse, a spouse or partner is usually the perpetrator

· Most perpetrators are aged 35 - 54 years (usually a child of the abused)

· A significant number of alleged perpetrators have substance abuse, gambling addiction and/or mental health issues.

It is my privilege to volunteer some time and support the promotion of the 5th National Elder Abuse Conference in Sydney, Australia on the 19/20 of February 2018. This premiere conference is bringing together over 500 people to exchange ideas and solutions and comes at a pivotal time in Australia’s response to elder abuse. Over 5% of Australia’s 3.6 million older people will experience elder abuse, that’s more than 180,000 people. For more information and to register. Join us.

(I am so very proud of my mum as she is, of me. Recently she has become a Disruptive Ager, a mantle that inspires me to do better, be better. )

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