COVID-19 restrictions have put a stop to local events marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15 this year, but local advocates are continuing to highlight the issue.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that older people are encouraged to stay at home and remain physically distant from their community. Although this is important health advice, there is now a greater importance for us all to ensure we remain socially connected and take action if there are concerns about the welfare of an older person, or suspicions of abuse caused by someone they know such as a family member, partner or neighbour," said a spokeswoman.
"Although we cannot run our annual community event the Blue Mountains Elder Abuse Collaborative are pleased to announce that we have the continued support that we value from our local media such as the Blue Mountains Gazette and Radio Blue Mountains. This support will assist in being able to share and highlight information to help everyone better understand the signs of abuse, and who to talk to for information and support."
Some signs of abuse include: being told how to spend their own money, or having demands placed on them for an early inheritance; inability to pay for everyday items; appearing withdrawn, isolated and often avoiding talking with someone they trust.
The NSW Ageing and Disability Commissions Abuse Helpline is where people can contact and report concerns about older people or adults with disability being abused, neglected or exploited by someone they know in their home, or in their community. If you are concerned about yourself or someone you know, can contact the helpline on 1800 628 221 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm). They can provide information and support on how to be safe, how to protect your rights and help connect you or the older person with relevant services. You can also be anonymous when you call.
If you are in danger and need help immediately you should call 000. Other services for support and information include Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you need help to communicate your concerns there are services that can assist such as the National Relay Service 1800 555 660, Text Telephone 133 677 If you speak a language other than English contact the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.
The Blue Mountains Elder Abuse Collaborative we would like to acknowledge the continued support and connections from the Blue Mountains community, local businesses, community groups and collaborative members: Tilly Elderfield Nepean Blue Mountains LHD; Julie McGregor Ambassador; Shelagh Simpson, Nepean Blue Mountains LHD; Marlene Churn, co-ordinator Katoomba Volunteer Home Visitors Belong Blue Mountains; Richard Baldacchino Nepean Blue Mountains LHD; Karen Frawley Blue Mountains Food Services; Monica Barac Regional Assessment Services; Angelique Sasagi Thrive Services; Arlia Fleming Elizabeth Evatt Legal Centre; Prue Hardgrove Blue Mountains City Council; and Shelly Harpur Ageing and Disability Commission.