Compass wishes to extend our sympathies to those who’ve lost loved ones as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We recognise that the pandemic may have profound negative impacts on older people’s enjoyment of their social, economic and health rights. Extreme social isolation may be experienced as an unintended consequence of social distancing measures.
Older people may face a disproportionate risk of serious and life-threatening complications from the virus and their health rights may be under greater threat when living in higher-risk environments such as aged care facilities. They may not bounce back as easily from financial loss including recouping money they have loaned to people close to them to help them out in this crisis. However not all older people will be impacted by the pandemic in this way.
The virus affects people in both common and unique ways. Older people who have increased vulnerabilities including financial disadvantage, living remotely, care support needs and not having access to the internet; may experience greater challenges through the pandemic.
We are deeply concerned that some of the pre-existing risk factors for elder abuse may become amplified during the pandemic. At the same time, those usually able to notice signs of elder abuse may not be there to see it. This calls for greater awareness by all of us as to what elder abuse is, how to prevent it and how to respond to it.
During this pandemic, elder abuse may be recognised or emerge in these situations:
- Unnecessary levels of social isolation that go beyond government restrictions
- Preventing access to potential supports and communication methods including phone or the internet
- Unreasonable cancelling of care supports
- Misinformation, causing further anxiety and fear
- Requests for sums of money to pay for unspecified items
- Threatening to leave the older person without social or care supports
- Pressures around how to make a will, power of attorney documents or advanced care planning documents
- Health treatment that discriminates solely based on age or disability.
At a time when the government is calling for everyone to help save lives by following social distancing requirements, we must prevent further distress caused by elder abuse. Below is useful information for the community and older people to protect themselves during the pandemic.
To help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect those who are most at risk, it is important that you take the recommended steps to protect yourself and others. Read more
People aged 70 years and over, people aged 65 years and over with chronic medical conditions, people with compromised immune systems, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50, are at greater risk of more serious illness if they are infected with coronavirus. Read more
Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for the health and aged care sector
We are providing up-to-date and authoritative information and advice on COVID-19 for the health and aged care sector. Read more
A collection of resources for the general public and industry about coronavirus (COVID-19). Read more
Mental health of older people during COVID-19: a Compass guide
This is a useful guide with a comprehensive list of Australian Resources and Service Providers to help older people who may be struggling with their mental health during COVID-19. The PDF format can be easily printed and shared. Read more
COVID-19 resources on Compass
There’s a wide range of COVID-19 (coronavirus) information and resources for older Australians on the Compass website. Read more