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Facts

Shauna is 75. Recently her only son, Patrick, moved back home with her after her husband died. Her son has substance abuse issues and is physically and psychologically abusive towards her. She is terrified of him but also protective of her only son. Last week he came into her bedroom when she was getting ready for bed and screamed at her and pushed her back so that she fell awkwardly on the bed. Shauna wasn’t hurt but she was shaken up. She feels like it is the drugs that are making him behave the way he is, it’s not the ‘real’ Patrick.

Considerations

Often older parents are called on to assist their adult children, when those children are in crisis. It is reasonable and understandable that parents want to help their children at these times. However, equally, parents should be able to continue to live with dignity and respect and in a safe environment.

Before requests are made from adult children or other relatives to move into an older adult’s home, it’s important to consider how this change in living arrangements will impact on lifestyle. There might be other living options available to an adult child or relative that can be explored before agreement is reached to move into the older adult’s home.

The booklet “Care for Your Assets – Money, Ageing and Family” has information in it that can assist with these sorts of living arrangements.

Shauna’s safety is at risk because of Patrick’s violence and aggressive behaviour. There are several options available to Shauna to address the abuse. Seniors Rights Victoria can discuss these with her, confidentially.

*Personal details have been changed to protect our client’s privacy.

Facts

Vic lives independently in his own home with some home care assistance provided weekly. He’s active with a local walking group and enjoys meeting up with his pals once a week at the social club. Vic’s 18-year-old grandson, Paul is on holidays from university and has been visiting Vic every couple of weeks. When he visited last time, Paul borrowed $100 from Vic and agreed to repay it in a week. Vic hasn’t had any contact with Paul since he borrowed the money and when Vic telephones Paul, it goes through to voicemail. Vic doesn’t want to raise the matter with his daughter, Selina, who is Paul’s mother, as it might cause family conflict.

Considerations

It’s reasonable for grandparents to want to meet the needs of family members, such as grandchildren. However, it’s important to recognise that as older adults we have rights and when requests are made those rights shouldn’t be ignored. Paul’s attitude might be that as Vic is getting older therefore he doesn’t need the money. Vic’s financial circumstances are irrelevant.  Whether Vic is rich or poor, Paul is exploiting the relationship he has with his grandfather.

It’s important to ensure that when requests are made by family, older relatives meet their own needs first, before agreeing to the request. Sometimes this can be difficult, however saying “no” can be empowering, as well.

If Paul made another request to borrow money or didn’t repay the loan, Vic could telephone Seniors Rights Victoria for a confidential discussion.

*Personal details have been changed to protect our client’s privacy.

Facts

John is an 83yo man, who migrated to Australia in 1965. John has a diagnosis of depression, which is being treated with medications. About 3 months ago John had a fall, which left him with a few bruises and damaged his self-confidence.

John’s daughter Pippa and her son Anthony live with John. After John’s fall, he noticed that he stopped receiving any mail. John asked Pippa if she had noticed anything about the missing mail. Pippa assures John that when the mail is delivered to the mailbox, she makes sure to collect and open all her father’s mail so he won’t have to trouble himself about it. She also tells John that she handles any bills promptly. This makes John uneasy and he feels he’s still capable of dealing with his own mail. However, since he has become more dependent on Pippa for assistance and support, John is too fearful to confront her.

John begins to think that he has no control over his life and this makes him sad.

Considerations

Regardless of age, older people have the same right to participate fully in various aspects of life. Sometimes older people might need assistance and support from families and relatives to do this, however everyone has the right to make their own decisions, while they have capacity.

After John’s fall, Pippa might have thought that she was helping her father. However, she didn’t check-in with him about his mail and whether he needed help with it.

John is now feeling devalued and he has become more unhappy. He might even have a sense of isolation. Simple actions can cause psychological and emotional distress.

*Personal details have been changed to protect our client’s privacy.

Facts

Beatrice is 70 years old. She has been married for 49 years and has three grown children. She is receiving temporary home after-care by a local nursing service following a recent fall.

When her daughter, Ella visits Beatrice she notices that her mother is withdrawn and depressed. During the visit, the nurse arrives and Ella speaks to her about her concerns.

They both talk with Beatrice about her mood and she starts sobbing. The nurse calms Beatrice and with her daughter’s support, Beatrice talks about how controlling her husband is and that he frequently forces her to have sex with him. He did this immediately after Beatrice returned home from hospital.

Considerations

Because of ageist attitudes, older people are often considered to be sexually inactive and therefore there’s a belief that sexual assault only occurs for younger women. This can make it difficult for older women to speak up about sexual abuse and when they do, they might not be believed. They may feel ashamed or worried they may be blamed.   

The physical and psychological impact for women, like Beatrice, after sexual assault can be severe and can result in poor overall health and increased fear and anxiety. Beatrice discloses that the abuse perpetrated by her husband has been occurring for some time. It’s only now with the support of her daughter and the nurse that she’s able to talk about it.

Older women have the right to live safely in their own home. When an older woman is being sexually abused by a family member or intimate partner, it’s important that they’re believed and supported.

Facts

A year ago, George, who is 82 years old and lives alone in the family home, agreed that his son, Petro, could live with him.  George has chronic arthritis and has limited mobility. This has become worse in the last 6 months and he is more reliant on Petro for support.

When Petro moved back home it was on the understanding that he would take care of his father and he obtained a Carer’s Allowance.  In the last two months, Petro’s behaviour has become unstable and he’s neglecting the care of his father. Petro has stopped people visiting George, including service providers and other family members. When George’s daughter telephones the house, Petro answers the telephone and hangs up. George’s friends have stopped visiting because Petro is aggressive towards them.

As George has difficulty moving around, he’s unable to leave the house or shower, without assistance.

Considerations

George was motivated to agree to his son moving in with him because of the support his son, Petro, would provide. However, Petro is neglecting George’s needs and is keeping others, who might be able to assist, away from George.

George’s health and wellbeing are a priority in this situation. Seniors Rights Victoria often has concerned family and others telephone to express worry for an older person, who is being socially abused in their own home. There are options to address these situations and talking to the Seniors Rights Victoria Helpline can provide information about how to assist an older person.

*Personal details have been changed to protect our client’s privacy.

Call
If you, or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, help is available through our confidential helpline on 1300 368 821. If it is an emergency, call 000.
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