Sydney, 15 June, 2018
Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness day. Elder Abuse is not uncommon, and deserves the attention of all in the community. http://www.un.org/en/events/elderabuse/
It is estimated that as many as 10 per cent of older Australians are estimated to be affected by elder abuse, with financial abuse the most common form. More than $3 billion is lost to scams and fraud each year, with Commonwealth Bank data indicating that 76 percent of those affected by scam activity are aged over 50. It is likely more Australians will fall victim to financial abuse in the future, with those aged over 65 set to account for 25 per cent of the population by 2050.
The report in https://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/punjabi/en/audiotrack/concerns-over-elder-abuse-punjabi-community says that at least 31% elders from Indian Australian community over and above the age of 65 suffer one form of abuse or neglect. The SBS report also says “The most common form of abuse faced by parents of Indians living in Australia is usually financial”.
It appears that elder abuse may be more common in Indian Australian community. I am aware of many examples of physical abuse and one recent example of financial abuse, which involved transfer of a large sum of money from a lady, who had dementia and short-term memory issues. Unfortunately, roles of Banking staff was questionable and is a complaint matter now.
Greater action is needed now to protect older Australians. It is a moral duty of everyone to prevent abuse of elders. Banks must play a central role in raising awareness of the issue and helping to protect customers, especially elders, from financial abuse, scams and fraud.
Knowing that financial form of elder abuse is common, it was heartening to know that one of the prominent Banks, CBA, has commenced a program today to educate their employees in identifying elder financial abuse as well as providing practical advice on tips and traps to older customers and their families. The infographic as well as a detailed Safe and Savvy guide will be available for customers online today and in all of our branches from July. www.commbank.com.au/safeandsavvy
Even though it’s hard to discuss, the more we understand what elder abuse, including financial abuse, is, the more we can identify it, talk about it, and take steps to prevent it from happening. More info: firstname.lastname@example.org and www.commbank.com.au/customeradvocate
Dr Yadu Singh