Elder abuse is complex and can take many forms; incidents are often hidden and can be misreported. The UN International Plan of Action described elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue.
Kineo salutes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day that is observed on the 15th June and dedicated to eradicating these challenges to support vulnerable older adults, so they all may lead a good quality-based and dignified life.
We live in an increasingly aging population where predicted numbers of older people in the world are expected to be 1.4 billion by 2030. In The Australian Government: Australian Institute of Family Studies report on Elder Abuse: Key issues and emerging evidence, it has been reported:
An estimated 2-14% of older people in high- or middle-income countries are victims of abuse or neglect every year. Prevalence rates are likely to be much higher in institutional care settings than in community settings.
Everybody has a duty of care to say something if we see something, that we know - or that we question could be wrong.
What constitutes Elder Abuse?
As people get older, they become more frail and their basic needs increase. At some point individuals will need help to manage day to day to ensure the quality of their standard of living.
Negligence is the most common form of Elder Abuse. This includes neglect around basic care, such as in the provision of nutritious food, required medications, support with hygiene and general safety. COVID-19 has had a major detrimental effect too, compounding elderly individuals' feelings of loneliness with mandatory periods of isolation, further reducing socialisation, and where reduced care has also been a factor.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), was established by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization. WEAAD aims to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of the abuse older people suffer by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic processes affecting them.
Bolstering and strengthening safeguards for vulnerable older adults
The Office of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, 2020 reports that 39.2% of people living in Australian aged care facilities have experienced elder abuse in the form of neglect, emotional abuse or physical abuse. To help force a positive change, from 1 April 2021, residential aged care providers are required to identify, record, manage, resolve and report incidents - including serious reportable incidents (SIRS).
Elder abuse prevention training is vital for positive change
Primary interventions to minimise incidents of elder abuse occurring in residential care and home care include education and awareness strategies and aged care workforce development and support. Social support and healthy relationships are also key protective considerations for older people at risk of abuse or neglect.
Reporting Abuse and Serious Incidents in Aged Care is Kineo’s elder abuse and neglect training course for caregivers and other healthcare professionals who provide care to older people in Australia. Key learning takeaways from the 70 minute course cover requirements for the reporting of abuse of an older person, roles and responsibilities of staff around the abuse of a person in their care, barriers to staff reporting suspected and actual abuse, and actions to take if there is imminent threat to an older person.