At a recent briefing on aging in the community I was horrified to discover many of the elderly, in excess of 40% of people over 80, were potentially enduring elder abuse…and likely saying nothing about it out of fear and loyalty to the abuser.
Imagining a senior I love suffering at the hands of friends, family and loved ones… well, it makes my blood boil! Abuse of any sort is totally beyond my comprehension, even the elderly dogs get treated well at my place. Yet, apparently it’s such a widely experienced phenomena that it has a commonly known terminology – elder abuse!
The professor providing the briefing shared that many elderly suffer a range of abuse at the hands of people they know and trust. It seems senior individuals are known to suffer from: physical and emotional neglect, deprivation of food and services, stopped from accessing medical assistance, physical and emotional abuse, deprivation of liberty, have had items stolen and even having access to their own money taken from them.
The level of apparent acceptance in the community and by the elderly of their plight is astounding.
Everything I’ve noted above is both morally and legally wrong and can result in actual legal charges if the matter is pursued…but it usually isn’t, primarily out of fear and loyalty. For any person holding a power of attorney who allows any of the above to happen, you should better be aware…there is a whole Queensland government department, the Public Guardian, with the mandate to peruse and correct injustices to the principal.
I often come across people trying to deprive a senior of assets to minimize aged care fees under the guise of “this is what mum/dad would want”. Regardless of what mum/dad would want, you might want to be concerned about the impact of the law that might arise from your decisions.
If you’re working with me, I’ll do my level best to make sure your senior loved one is respected and celebrated.