State Member for Ku-ring-gai, Alister Henskens SC MP, hosted a World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Morning Tea at the Electorate Office in Wahroonga last week.
- Geoffrey Wolf (General Manager of The Cotswolds Village at North Turramurra);
- Sue Laurence (General Manager) and Dan Barnes (Assistant Manager) from The Landings at North Turramurra;
- Sybil Davis, Tom Gait and Helen Thomas (residents of The Woniora at Wahroonga);
- Mary Bentley, Pat Knipsel and Peter Worthington (residents of Rohini Village at Turramurra); and
- Michele Bell (Chief Executive Officer of the Ku-ring-gai Neighbourhood Centre),
Mr Henskens discussed with those attending some examples of psychological, emotional or financial distress suffered by vulnerable older people in the community and the steps than can be taken to ensure that they remain safe and connected.
“Stories of elder abuse are both disturbing and sad,” said Mr Henskens. “It is even more distressing that so often the perpetrators of the abuse are close family members, whom their older relatives should be able to trust to provide the assistance that they need.”
Mr Henskens praised the willingness of Ku-ring-gai’s community leaders to work together to provide the requisite support to those who are at greater risk of exploitation because of their physical frailty, cognitive impairment, illness or social isolation.
“I am very grateful to everyone who participated and shared their insights,” Mr Henskens said. “The consensus emerging from the morning tea was that there is nothing more powerful than regular and open communication to ensure the safety of our senior citizens, to assure them that they are being heard and to provide a clear understanding of the options and help available to them.”
The Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit was established as a key initiative of the NSW Government’s Ageing Strategy, and has resources available on how to recognise the signs of elder abuse, as well as crucial information on how to access support if you witness or experience abuse.
“I encourage everyone in Ku-ring-gai to educate themselves on the signs of elder abuse and know who to contact if they suspect somebody they know may be suffering, “ said Mr Henskens. “Just as importantly, I counsel any older person in Ku-ring-gai who is suffering from abuse to reach out for support – help is just a phone call away.”
People who witness, suspect or experience abuse are urged to call the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline & Resource Unit on 1800 628 221 or visit www.elderabusehelpline.gov.au for information, support and referrals.