Older people offer so much to our societies. Our elderly are also vulnerable, often simply by the physical constraints of age.  Sadly, elderly people are sometimes abused and exploited.  When this happens, the abusers are most likely a family member or someone close to them.

Elder abuse can take many forms of disgusting, distressing behaviours – physical, psychological, financial, sexual abuse or chemical abuse through interference with medications.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our elderly are at increased risk of elder abuse, due to extra isolation, barriers to services and technology.  Many organisations have adapted well, thankfully, and pivoted to ensure that our vulnerable elderly people do not suffer at the hands of abuse.   But it’s something we need to keep talking about.

On the positive side to this very sombre topic, are the people who dedicate their time to fighting for the rights of the victims of elder abuse.  A great example of this is Maria Berry, from the North East of Victoria, who has spent many years campaigning for the rights of elderly.

Maria has a background in Nursing, including experience in working with older people in residential care and community settings.  Maria has worked on various Advisory Committees, with the National Ageing Research Institute, Clinical Networks, Elder Abuse Australia and within conferences, forums and networking groups. I thank Maria, and other advocates like her, for their experience, ideas and a loud, insistent voice for people who suffer elder abuse.