No one likes to think that they, or someone they love, will ever be a victim of elder abuse. But it does happen.
The problem of elder abuse is of increasing concern as Australia's population ages. According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, by 2050 just over a fifth of the population is projected to be over 65 and those over 85 will represent 5% of the population. This means more older Australians will be vulnerable and could fall victim to financial, physical, or emotional abuse; or be subject to neglect or abuse by service providers such as professionals and tradespeople
To reduce the possibility of elder abuse for your loved ones, and even yourself as you age, there are several things that we should each do to safeguard against this awful possibility, according to Equity Trustees.
Ian Westley - Executive General Manager of Trustee and Wealth Services at one of the country's oldest trustee companies, Equity Trustees, which has taken care of generations of families - gives us a timely reminder.
"Trustee companies were established with the purpose of taking care of people who could not take care of themselves - usually in relation to financial affairs," said Mr Westley.
"We have direct experience of stepping in to either stop - or claw back - money being scammed from some of our most vulnerable clients by people such as fake tradespeople and involving police in those matters."
"While the financial loss is serious - often worse is the impact it has on the confidence of people - particularly those who have worked hard to maintain independence in their own homes," he said.
And if you are one those older Australian who is unhappy with the care you are receiving, it's important to speak up and let a trusted person know the situation, Mr Westley advises.
"If you suspect abuse is taking place, raise the alarm with family, a community group, contact a lawyer or, if a criminal act is suspected, get in touch with the police."
"We all have a responsibility to advocate for older people if they are unable or unwilling to speak for themselves. While elder abuse can raise complex social and legal issues, calling it out is essential and shows your loved one that help is at hand," he said.
Equity Trustees' promise
Equity Trustees was established in 1888 for the purpose of providing independent and impartial Trustee and Executor services to help families throughout Australia protect their wealth.
When you're an Equity Trustees client, Mr Westley said, "You can trust us to take care of you - and those around you - exactly the way you would want. This is because when you become our we take the time to understand what you want to happen should the day arrive when you are unable to make decisions for yourself. We can protect your decisions - and your assets."
"You can work with us to make sure you are in control of the important decisions that need to be made as you age. We can guide you on appointing the right people to the right roles and ensure you have the right documents in place to empower them to assist and protect you. Your instructions are safe and secure with us, and we'll be right there when you need us," he said.
As Australia's leading specialist trustee company, Equity Trustees offer a diverse range of services to individuals, families and corporate clients including asset management, estate planning, philanthropic services and Responsible Entity (RE) services for external Fund Managers. Equity Trustees is the brand name of EQT Holdings Limited (ABN 22 607 797 615) and its subsidiary companies, publicly listed company on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX: EQT) with offices in Melbourne, Bendigo, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, London and Dublin.
For more information visit www.eqt.com.au