Look out for your elderly relatives

Date: Nov 26, 2014

Saturday (June 15) was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

This date was nominated by the United Nations National Assembly in 2006 to be an annual reminder of the physical, psychological and financial abuse being suffered by those aged 60 years or older.

According to the United Nations website, the number of people in this age bracket will be approximately 1.2 billion by 2025. This is more than double the recorded 542 million people who were aged 60 years or older in 1995.

"The incidence of abuse towards older people is predicted to increase as many countries are experiencing rapidly ageing populations," the website reveals.

If you have a family member who is in this age bracket, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day may serve as a timely reminder that they could be in need of help.

There are a number of ways you can reach out to elderly relatives.

Christina Steinorth, a psychotherapist and author of Cue Cards for Life: Thoughtful Tips for Better Relationships, told Psych Central that one of the most important things you can do is contact them regularly.

Ms Steinorth revealed that when she was completing her Masters thesis on the subject of caring for ageing parents, she discovered the vast majority want nothing more than to hear from their relations once in awhile.

She also suggests, if possible, that you visit elderly relatives to make sure they are taking care of themselves.

Check to make sure their homes are safe (e.g. well-lit, do not have uneven or slippery flooring) and that they have easy access to emergency contacts if need be.

You should also encourage them to be active, both socially and physically, by joining interest groups or senior exercise programs.

Finally, you can help ageing parents or family members to understand their financial situation and encourage them to "downsize" their living arrangements if need be.

While on the topic of your elderly relatives' finances, you may want to consider discussing their estate planning options with them.

If they are interested in preparing a will, getting their life insurance in order, and organising powers of attorney and enduring guardians, you can help them to do so by contacting Craddock Murray Neumann.

Our team of family lawyers can offer you and them advice on all of the above.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day may only occur once a year, but we encourage you to ensure the mental, social, physical and financial health of your elderly relatives on a much more regular basis.