In an ABC News online opinion piece on 14 June 2019, Professor Joseph Ibrahim of Monash University’s Health Law and Ageing Research Unit, drew attention to the fact that the following day was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
The focus of the article was principally to say that we do not listen when complaints are made by those with disabilities, principally children and the elderly.
No one listened when children said they were the victims of abuse by the various religious institutions, it was only later when they were adults, and, importantly, in numbers, that they were eventually heard.
Similarly, he laments that no one listens to the elderly and infirm – partly because it is human nature not to listen to the vulnerable. He laments that many people are probably more fearful of entering a nursing home than dying.
He comments that those most vulnerable to the financial abuse are those most likely not to be able to speak on their own behalves, because of infirmity/dementia, et cetera.
He concludes by saying that we must all increase our efforts to listen and to take concerted action to protect the elderly. He says that we must hold ourselves to account. He says that we must respect older people acknowledging that they have the same rights as everyone else. He says that better laws have to be enacted to protect the elderly from abuse or exploitation, and we must all support the elderly who have been victims of financial abuse, to navigate the legal system to obtain restitution so that a better life can be lived.
He ends the piece by saying – “Your future self, assuming you age successfully, will be the beneficiary.”