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Seniors have rights

Gary Ferguson of Seniors Rights Victoria demonstrating Recognising and Responding to Elder Abuse’ ahead of his visit to the Moorabool Shire. Photo – Seniors Rights Victoria

By Matt Romania

Understanding the intricacies of support for elderly family members is essential in today’s ageing society. Gary Ferguson of Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV) says there are many examples of family members supporting their older parents or other relatives.

“In my family, I have two aunts in their 90s still living in their respective homes and their families stay connected with them and assist them by including them in family events and activities, providing transport if needed, and recognising that my aunts have their own lives, friends and community involvement,” Mr Ferguson told The Moorabool News.

He highlighted the importance of recognising the autonomy of seniors, saying that an older person, who still has decision-making ability, likes to be included in any decisions that might impact on their lives.

“… and has the right to have their choices respected, even if it’s a choice with which the family member doesn’t agree.”

SRV’s upcoming Money, Ageing & Family Moorabool Workshops will examine the nuanced challenges the senior community faces, especially surrounding Enduring Powers of Attorney. On 23 October, a workshop will cover vital topics like Supportive Attorney roles, Medical Decision Making, and Advanced Care Directives.

Elder abuse, a grave concern, is also on SRV’s radar. Mr Ferguson stressed the importance of planning.

“The obvious way to prevent elder abuse is to have plans in place to protect your rights.”

He also addressed the perils of social isolation and advocated for community engagement.

“Staying connected is an easy but effective strategy against elder abuse. The upcoming talks will discuss unconventional means of connecting, such as using local libraries for those hesitant to join groups,” he said.

Emphasising proactive measures, SRV champions early intervention. Discussing worries as they emerge is a proactive approach in addressing elder abuse when it happens.
Beyond Moorabool, SRV has boosted its commitment to elder care education. They recently unveiled a module named ‘Recognising and Responding to Elder Abuse’, adaptable to an organisation’s needs, available both in-person across Victoria and online. Targeted mainly at home care providers, including managerial roles.

CEO of SRV, Chris Potaris, highlighted the issue’s urgency, and said elder abuse affects one in six older Australians.

“Introducing this revised education program is our proactive step towards supporting professionals interacting with elder Victorians.”

To attend one of Mr Ferguson’s workshops, visit the Moorabool Shire Council website or contact the Aged and Disability Community Liaison Officer at 5366 7100.