Aged Care

Retirement homes urged to boost elder abuse prevention


Australia’s Age Discrimination Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald AM is urging retirement homes across the country to step up their efforts in protecting older residents from abuse.

One in six older Australians faces some form of abuse, and this problem extends to retirement villages too. The abuse can range from neglect and money troubles to physical harm and emotional mistreatment. Surprisingly, a recent study from NSW Retirement Villages found that the most common type of abuse in these communities is actually between residents themselves.

Right now,  Retirement Village Elder Abuse Prevention Strategies are currently mandated in New South Wales requiring retirement homes to have specific plans in place to prevent elder abuse. Fitzgerald believes all states and territories should follow this example.

“Elder abuse is highly prevalent and has no place in our society, let alone in retirement villages. Operators have a responsibility to prevent it,” Fitzgerald said. “Retirement villages are an important sector in our society that can help foster a sense of community and wellbeing for the more than 250,000 older Australians who reside in them.”

Over 250,000 older Australians live in retirement villages, which are meant to provide a sense of community and well-being. Fitzgerald stressed that it’s crucial for these places to have clear and strong strategies to keep residents safe, ensure they’re treated with respect, and give them access to help if they need it.

While awareness of elder abuse has grown in recent years, Fitzgerald argues that’s not enough. “In recent years, awareness has increased in the sector that elder abuse is a real problem in communities. But awareness is not enough,” he said. “We need national strategies in place that reduce the risk.”

Related: New care model seeks to encourage reporting against elder abuse

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