Generations Unite to Combat Elder Abuse

Concerned citizens of all ages rallied in Hobart and Launceston on 15 June in COTA Tasmania’s annual Walks Against Elder Abuse.

Students from Z Clubs at Ogilvie and Kingston High Schools swelled the ranks of the Hobart walk, driving home the message that there is no excuse for the ageism that fuels neglect and exploitation. (See page 5 of The Senior‘s July Tasmanian edition.)

Ogilvie student Madeline Adams marched with her grandmother Christine Tilyard, celebrating the strength of their own relationship but explaining that the abuse of older people is often hidden by isolation, shame and fear.

Kingston students raised everyone’s spirits by singing a song of protest as they marched, drawing praise from the Lord Mayor Alderman Ron Christie, who helped lead the Hobart walk.

Also leading the Hobart walk were Speaker Sue Hickey and, from COTA Tasmania, Acting CEO Deb Lewis, Deputy President John Pauley and Treasurer Rita Meaney.

The inaugural Launceston walk, led by Mayor Albert van Zetten and COTA Tasmania President Philippa Roberts, was a resounding success, attracting coverage from WIN TV that included interviews with Philippa and Legal Aid’s Chris Arnott.

Relationships Australia’s Simon Reeve marched in Launceston, using World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to launch the extension of elder relationships services state-wide. He explained how elder mediation can help older people and their adult children make difficult decisions or deal with change.

In Hobart, dietitian Ngaire Hobbins gave a passionate speech about the need to ensure older people receive tasty and nutritious food, so that a poor diet does not become a form of elder abuse by neglect.

The gatherings in both cities were all the more impressive because so many walkers carried banners or decked themselves out in purple, the colour of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Politicians of all persuasions were enthusiastic participants. Tasmania Police were unfailingly generous with their time, COTA volunteers helped every step of the way, and representatives of the aged-care sector, unions, community organisations and the public sector walked side by side.

COTA Tasmania’s Walks Against Elder Abuse in 2018 were supported by the Tasmanian Government, the City of Launceston, the City of Hobart, and Mathers Place – Hobart’s council-funded positive-ageing hub.

We are already planning for bigger and better walks in 2019. See you then!

If you require any information or guidance concerning elder abuse please contact Advocacy Tasmania on 1800 441 169.