Elder abuse on the rise in step with galloping property prices

by Graham Hill, The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 August 2017

Dr Graham Hill is the chairman of National Legal Aid, the peak body representing legal aid commissions in all states and territories.

Growing numbers of older people are being pressured by adult children to guarantee enormous loans.

The pressure on older people can be immense. Adult children sometimes deny access to grandchildren if an elderly parent does not agree to be a guarantor or provide funds for a home deposit.

The boom in property prices has resulted in a spike in the numbers of adult children taking over an elderly parent’s home and refusing to move out. At times, rising house prices result in an adult child persuading an elderly parent to sell up and buy a home with them.

Vulnerable parents are unable to free themselves of an abusive son or daughter who insists on living rent-free. 

This is also an increasing problem across the Tasman, where it was reported in New Zealand earlier this year that increasing numbers of elderly being abused.

Age Concern statistics show about 75 per cent of alleged abusers were family members – more than half the alleged abusers were adult children or grandchildren.

Family situations were often complex and elderly people relied on the care of the abuser, so instead of reporting the abuse, they put up with it, Clare said.

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