World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEEAD), commemorated annually on 15 June to highlight elder abuse, and celebrate the positive contributions made by older people in our communities. Elder abuse is a form of ageism, inequality and a global human rights issue that impacts millions of older people around the world.
According to Senior Rights Victoria, ‘Elder abuse is any act which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust such as a family member or friend. Abuse can be physical, social, financial, psychological or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect.’
Meet our Ageing Services team
Our Ageing Services team are committed to the safety and wellbeing of older clients. We have almost 20 Home Support Partners and 100 Home Support Team Members (HSTM) that provide personal and household assistance, social support and help with shopping and to attend medical appointments and social events.
We also have over 60 volunteers who deliver up to 900 ‘Meals on Wheels’ to 350 clients on the Northern Beaches each week.
Our HSTMs visit clients across Greater Sydney as well as the Blue mountains, Southern Highlands and Tamworth. And our ‘Assistance with Care and Housing’ program supports those in need of housing or at risk of homelessness also in Greater Sydney, Orange and Tamworth.
Jennifer Cooke is the Manager of our Ageing Team at The Benevolent Society and has been with us for four years and believes our HSTM’s are our greatest asset. She says, “Part of being a client safe organisation is to ensure our clients are protected in the community. We provide them choices, encourage them to make their own decisions and we treat them with respect and dignity.”
“A lot of our staff also speak a second language which is a huge advantage when caring for clients from a Culturally and Linguistic Diverse background.”
Wellbeing is a priority
The Benevolent Society have strong relationships with our clients, built on trust and good communication. “It’s our responsibility to understand what’s happening in the clients’ environment so we can raise concerns if necessary. We’re well trained to identify forms of abuse and report instances that don’t feel right.”
The Benevolent Society’s EveryAGE Counts campaign team have also provided training to understand what ageism is, what it looks and feels like and how we can address it.
“Maintaining our clients’ independence at home and staying socially connected is so important for their wellbeing. We take them out on social activities and arrange for them to meet with their friends. Part of our Home Care Package, Greenwood Cottage is a place where our clients meet to socialise, friendships develop, and they crochet blankets together.”
“Some of our clients struggle to get out on their own and live-in units that aren’t accessible. Recently, one Home Support Partner went above and beyond to arrange ambulance staff to carry a client and his wheelchair out of his home safely, so he could spend time with his friends.”
Living their best life
Ageing Services are very passionate about caring for older people and helping them live their best lives.
“During COVID lockdown, our volunteers continued to hand deliver meals ensuring no client went unfed, despite the restrictions.”
“Our clients have a lot to contribute, and we learn something from them every day. We want to help keep them safe in their homes for as long as possible and give them the respect an older person in our community deserves.”