People with dementia at increased risk of elder abuse

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Media Release

Wednesday 24 February 2016

People with dementia at increased risk of elder abuse

Alzheimer’s Australia welcomes Federal Attorney General George Brandis’ announcement today, committing to an Inquiry into laws which will safeguard older Australians against the increasing incidence of elder abuse.

Senator Brandis acknowledged the growing problem at the 4th National Elder Abuse Conference in Melbourne.  

Dementia Australia’s National President, Professor Graeme Samuel said with elder abuse continuing to increase, a national inquiry is a welcomed step towards tackling this distressing issue.

“People living with dementia are at significantly higher risk of being taken advantage of. We need to ensure that older people, especially those with cognitive impairment are protected against all forms of elder abuse, whether they are in aged care facilities or in the community,” Professor Samuel said.

A report by Alzheimer’s Australia Preventing Financial Abuse of People With Dementia highlights the problem of financial abuse of people living with dementia happening all too often, mainly perpetrated by family members or the people appointed to manage the person with dementia’s finances. It outlines strategies on how to protect the person with dementia from financial abuse and indicates who to contact if you or a loved one have been a victim of financial abuse.

Alzheimer’s Australia National CEO, Carol Bennett said “with the escalating prevalence of dementia, elder abuse is only going to increase. A national, coordinated approach needs to be taken that will address the many complexities associated with this growing problem.”

These include:

  • measures in place in aged care facilities to safeguard against mistreatment
  • workforce issues including under staffing and inadequate training in aged care facilities  
  • improved data collection to highlight more accurately the extent of elder abuse and
  • improve awareness at all levels of Government and at a community level.

“A national inquiry will help to bring this issue into the spotlight and ensure that all involved in the sector work together to protect and value our older Australians.” Ms Bennett concluded.

Media enquiries:

Bianca Armytage | 0407 019 430 | [email protected]

Alzheimer’s Australia is the peak body representing people with dementia and their families and carers. It provides advocacy, support services, education and information. More than 353,800 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach more than half a million by 2030.

National Dementia Helpline: 1800 100 500
An interpreter service is available
(The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government Initiative)
Dementia is a National Health Priority Area

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