Last Friday morning we joined the Hon. Dr Kay Patterson AO, the Age Discrimination Commissioner, who travelled down to Mornington for the quarterly 8am meeting of local retirement village managers.
Held at Chas Jacobsen’s new Village Glen Aged Care Residences Mornington, Kay spent two hours discussing many forms of elder abuse with an emphasis on children of retirement village and aged care residents.
Managers present confirmed that for many, observing and being drawn into residents being placed under duress by their children particularly seeking financial gain is a monthly occurrence.
Gadens lawyer Sabine Phillips said: “There would be nobody in this room that is not regularly confronted by elder abuse”. She pointed out that village and aged care managers do not have a legal position to act, making their role “difficult”.
Dr Patterson advised that staff need to be educated so they are not intimidated by the children.
She also advised that she had been “pounding the law society about educating people on their rights and responsibilities around powers of attorney” as well as enduring guardianships.
Banks want registration of power of attorney and she noted that in Queensland they can be suspended for up to three months to investigate abuse.
Another insight was that ACAT teams would like the right to see a person on their own for at least 30 minutes; often the children insist on joint meetings.
It was evident that there is little structure in place to support village and care managers in protecting residents from family elder abuse.
Dr Patterson recommended a Commonwealth Bank booklet on elder abuse titled ‘Savvy and Safe’. You can download it HERE.