Protecting Yourself from Elder Abuse

Things you can do to protect yourself against abuse

  • Make sure your financial and legal affairs are in order. You can enlist professional help and advice to ensure you are protected financially and legally. For more information, call the Seniors Rights Service on 1800 424 079 or visit www.seniorsrightsservice.org.au for free legal advice and assistance.
  • Keep in touch with trusted family and friends, and avoid becoming isolated
  • Keep informed – understand your rights and how to exercise them
  • If you are unhappy with the care you’re receiving, tell someone you trust and ask that person to tell this to the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline & Resource unit or make the call yourself on 1800 628 221

Things you can do as a concerned family member or friend

  • Call and visit your family members and friends regularly. Help the older person to feel safe to share their concerns with you
  • Offer to stay with the older person so the caregiver can have a break – on a regular basis, if possible
  • Watch for warning signs and notice any 'red flags' that might indicate elder abuse:
    • Stories are not consistent
    • Previous reports of abuse
    • Caregiver won't let you talk to the older person alone
    • Delay in seeking care
    • Body language
    • 'Doctor shopping' (that is, seeing multiple doctors for the same issue)
    • Sudden change in behaviour
    • Decisions being made which don't seem appropriate for the older person
    • The older person reports someone is accessing their accounts, or money is disappearing
    • Call the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline  & Resource Unit on 1800 628 221

Things you can do as a caregiver to prevent elder abuse

If you’re overwhelmed by the demands of caring for an older person, you can:

  • Find a carer support group: https://www.carersnsw.org.au/
  • Request help from friends, relatives, or local respite services, so you can take a break, if only for a couple of hours
  • Stay healthy and get medical care for yourself when necessary
  • Adopt stress reduction practices
  • Seek counselling for depression, which, when left untreated, can lead to elder abuse
  • If you’re having problems with drug or alcohol dependence, seek assistance

Things we can all do to help prevent elder abuse

  • Listen to older people and their caregivers
  • Intervene when you suspect elder abuse
  • Educate others about how to recognise and respond to elder abuse
  • If you or someone you know is being abused, call the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline & Resource Unit on 1800 628 221
  • In there is an emergency situation involving risk of harm to yourself or others, contact emergency services on 000