Longer life expectancies and a resulting inheritance impatience are leading to more cases of elder abuse, according to the New South Wales Ageing and Disability Commission. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
The commission’s abuse helpline received 14,025 calls in 2022-23, an increase of 12 per cent from the previous year, its annual report shows.
Of the more than 5000 allegations about abuse of older people made to the commission, the highest number related to psychological abuse (41.7 per cent). However, the commission also received more than 1400 complaints of pure financial abuse, including exploitation, misused power of attorney and theft.
Speaking at New South Wales Budget estimates this month, NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald said the trend was attributable to more people reaching the age of 75, an increase in elderly poverty – particularly among single women – and an emerging phenomenon of “inheritance impatience”.
“Our children – my children – will have to wait much longer for the wealth transfer to occur, and that wealth transfer is being pushed out by five to 10 years,” he said.
“What we know about adult children is that they are not patient, so inheritance impatience will, in fact, grow.”
Mr Fitzgerald, a former productivity commissioner who led the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, has routinely called for more funding for elder abuse services.
In the Ageing and Disability Commission’s annual report, Mr Fitzgerald wrote that financial resourcing remained a serious issue to be addressed given the increasing demand for its work.
“We are really where child protection was 30 years ago and domestic violence was 20 years ago,” Mr Fitzgerald told estimates, warning “we won’t have that period of time in order to respond”.
NSW Minister for Seniors Jodie Harrison said the commission had received an extra $2.5 million this year on top of its baseline budget, telling Senate estimates the state government had faced a “rough budget”.
‘Inheritance impatience’ driving rise in elder abuse (By Mary Ward, Sydney Morning Herald)