The United Nations Principles for Older Persons states ‘Older persons should be able to live in dignity and security and be free of exploitation and physical or mental abuse1. This is supported by the Charter of Aged Care Rights provides for the ‘right to … live without abuse and neglect.'
The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) member organisations have for some time now been addressing elder abuse issues in order to uphold these rights, through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, through State or Territory elder abuse service provision as well as other funded advocacy and prevention work.
The work and activities have been of benefit to both users of aged care services and older people who are potential aged care service users. Contact has come through active engagement of older people and their families during information and education provision in the community. Elder abuse, and risk of elder abuse has also come to light when older people, their carers and families contact OPAN and its service delivery organisations requesting generalised and individual advocacy. This can be related to aged care, but also as the older person requests information and assistance in relation to other health, human services or community services.
To that end, OPAN’s members meet and support the older person within the community, service setting and circumstances within which they present – providing a ‘no wrong door’ approach to delivering elder abuse prevention and support.