The State and Federal Government’s are working with local communities to respond to the problem of elder abuse with a range of new initiatives which include a new booklet to fight scam abuse.
Federal Government’s Australian Competition and Consumer Commission initiative has released “The Little Black Book Of Scams” through the North Ryde Combined Probus Club and other local groups to alert senior citizens to scams which often target elderly people.
The Little Black Book Of Scams outlines the most common scams to watch out for, the way scammers contact elderly people, the tools they use to deceive and the warning signs of a scam.
The book also outlines how to protect your home and your accounts from scams and where to find help.
It can be downloaded at www.scamwatch.gov.au or can be obtained through the North Ryde Combined Probus Club and North Ryde RSL Community Club.
It’s release coincides with last week’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which has been extensively promoted through The Weekly Times and by Ryde MP Victor Dominello.
Mr Dominello in partnership with Minister For Ageing Tanya Davies released statistics which revealed that one in twenty people over the age of 65 have experienced elder abuse with the most common forms of elder abuse being psychological and financial.
This includes depriving older people of money and medicines, restricting the freedom and access to services as well as the denial of culturally appropriate support.
Mr Dominello’s government has also launched an elder abuse helpline (1800 628 221) and the website www.elderabusehelpline.com.au
Both Mr Dominello and Ms Davies encourage people to speak out against the inexcusable abuse inflicted on older people, especially abuse by family members.
“The abuse of older people is abhorrent and intolerable,” Ms Davies said.
“Older people have the right to be safe, be treated well and to live free from abuse.”
Mr Dominello encouraged people who suffer abuse to contact the government helpline.
“It is a confidential and free call service that provides information, advice and referrals for people experiencing elder abuse or who are concerned about elder abuse.”
The Ryde MP is a strong supporter of local community groups which care for older people, particularly groups which care for older people with limited English language skills.
Like Mr Dominello, Tanya Davies stressed the importance of older people breaking the bonds of social isolation by being part of a caring community network.
“Every older person has a wealth of experience and we want to empower them to share this and be active participants in their communities,” Ms Davies said.
Local groups which include the North Ryde Combined Probus Club provide an important service to older and retired people , says Club spokeswoman Helen James.
“We are a friendly group of people whose aim is to promote the development of friendship, fellowship and general interests of retirees,” Ms James said.
“Some of our activities include walking, dining, theatre outings and one day trips.”
The Helpline’s Manager Kerry Marshall said that with an ageing population the incidence of elder abuse was likely to increase and she urged readers of The Weekly Times to call to the helpline, when needed.
“We all have a responsibility to prevent and respond to the abuse of older people and if you suspect something, say something.”
Pictured back l to r Graham Jones, Ian Glendenning, Marian Johnston, Coral Read; front Gail Jones, Janice Harvey, Ryde MP Victor Dominello and Helen James at North Ryde RSL Community Club. TWT on-the-spot PHOTO.