City marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and unveils purple bench
The City of South Perth Mayor, Greg Milner and senior members of the community came together at Neil McDougall Park in Como to recognise World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on Thursday 15 June 2023.
A garden and a purple bench, created to raise awareness about elder abuse were installed at the park in honour of the day. Flowers in the garden will be purple when they blossom.
On WEAAD individuals and organisations worldwide highlight the importance of the rights of older people, as prevention against the mistreatment and harm occurring in their communities.
Elder abuse is any act which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust such as a family member or friend. The abuse may be physical, social, financial, psychological or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect. Rates of elder abuse are under reported, but the Australian Institute of Family Studies estimates up to 14 per cent of older people in Australia are affected.
The warning signs of elder abuse may include an older person seeming fearful, anxious or isolated. There may be injuries, or an absence of personal care. Unexplained changes to legal documents or finances are also of concern. Most elder abuse occurs behind closed doors, so it is important for loved ones to watch out for signs, listen and offer help.
Older people can reduce the risk of elder abuse by making sure their financial, medical, legal and other affairs are in order. They must also be empowered to recognise the signs of elder abuse and encouraged to seek help.
Older people have the right, just like people of all ages, to live safely free from harm, abuse, and exploitation. Any actions that breach this right are a form of abuse.
“World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is a day in the year when the world voices its opposition to the abuse and suffering inflicted on older people,” Mayor Milner said.
“It is important to raise awareness about elder abuse, to ensure older people are respected and included within our community.
“The City of South Perth is fortunate to have a wonderful community of seniors and I was privileged to meet with some of them today and mark this important occasion.
“I hope the purple garden and purple bench will provide a place of contemplation and reflection for all members of our community.”
For more information about WEAAD, visit elderabuseawarenessday.org.au.
If you are experiencing elder abuse, or concerned about an older person, you can get help by calling the Elder Abuse Helpline on 1300 724 679 or by visiting www.communities.wa.gov.au/elderabuse.