Elder abuse intolerable

We all know our later years carry the potential for certain difficulties.

Most people get to make a good fist of their retirement and the move into old age, if we are fortunate enough to keep racking-up the decades.

It can become a time when the years of hard work or the demands of raising a family can be put behind us.

If you are fortunate enough to be in such a position, it can be a time for travel – or simply having the time to indulge in interests that all those years of being time-poor prevented from taking place.

The concern is always there, of course, about whether the finances will stretch far enough for a comfortable even if frugal life or that our health will hold on enough to allow us to enjoy these new pursuits.

The idea of ending up in a nursing home unable to care for ourselves or, more frighteningly, saddled with dementia is something that we all worry will eventuate.

These are the paths that no one wants to take.

The possibility of ending up in such a situation though can pale when compared with the horrific experiences some have to endure.

Specifically, that relates to the spectre of elder abuse.

This is just what the term says – people who in their advanced years have to suffer the manipulation of their own families, or who in some way are neglected within the aged care system.

Even with a litany of standards in place across the system, people do fall victim to such scenarios.

And Maria Berry says the Border region certainly is not immune from elder abuse.

A year has passed since she first spoke out about her fight against such abuse in her own family. The story had an immediate, almost shocking response when Mrs Berry was inundated with similar experiences of those who have also suffered.

“People think in this area we’re not touched by it,” she says, “but we are and it’s huge.”

It was a brave move by Mrs Berry yet by taking such a courageous stance she has done good, having held talks with the Department of Health and Human Services about a North East forum.

We commend Mrs Berry on her commitment  and back her wish to form a group in the Border region charged with uncovering and addressing the shame of elder abuse.

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