A day to remind

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Commemorative days of the year tend to be special events – a rejoicing, a remembrance or a reminder.

Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – a day to remind us that:

• It’s happening;
• It’s getting worse;
• It’s repugnant; and
• The law needs to change to capture the conduct and catch the perpetrators.

It is also a reminder of a poignant pathos – most elder abusers are family members who are usually only too willing to ritualistically commemorate and celebrate their parents’ existence on other special days of the year – Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. That could be the one day, ironically, when a child puts their hand in their own pocket – to give – rather than in a parent’s pocket – to take.

We can’t excuse it as just bad behaviour – it’s criminal – it saps our elders’ autonomy, social relevance, financial security, peace, comfort and dignity resulting in their later lives becoming something to be passively endured instead of actively lived.

There is a mood and a momentum for change – engage in conversation or, even better, join the cause to convert outrage to action.

Brian Herd

Recognised as one of the leading experts in Australia on elder law, aged care, retirement, estate planning and disability and a regular author, broadcaster and popular presenter on many elder law subjects and issues.