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Elder Abuse Support Service

This is an older person-centred service that supports older people in addressing conflict relating to family or carers in their lives and preventing elder abuse.

Referral Icon

To refer please contact: 1800 214 117 or email respectingelders@betterplace.com.au with your contact details

We are funded to provide support to clients referred to us via the Orange Doors at Inner Gippsland, Bayside Peninsula, Barwon, North East Melbourne, and via Women’s Health West and the Integrated Model of Care (IMOC) at Monash Health, Peninsula Health and Latrobe Community Health. 

This is an older person-centred service that supports older people in addressing conflict relating to family or carers in their lives and preventing elder abuse. It supports the older person by working with them and, where safe and appropriate, may involve their family or carer in addressing the conflict.

The safety of the older person is paramount and continuously monitored. Appropriate action will be undertaken where risk is present to help prevent elder abuse and safeguard the rights, dignity and independence of the older person.

When there is an immediate risk of physical harm or damage to the older person’s property we will collaborate with the police.

How we can help

Better Place Australia’s Family Consultants can assist an older person to resolve a broad range of issues in line with their wishes.

Family Consultants can assist an older person with

Relationships & care needs, such as

  • Conflicting with those close to them, such as partners, family, carers, friends or children
  • Threats to the older person’s pets or threats of harm from a family member or carer
  • The older person’s wishes not respected or ignored
  • Mistreatment, abuse or neglect from a significant other
  • Being prevented from seeing friends and family
  • Being denied access to appropriate care or healthcare or personal care items
  • Increasing and unexplained distress
  • Want an impartial, non-judgmental person to talk to about problems.

Legal & safety issues, such as

  • The Police have attended the older person’s home and an Intervention Order (IVO) may have been taken out
  • The use of a power of attorney for purposes other than which it was intended
  • A recent change to the Will or Power of Attorney has been made where the older person does not seem capable of initiating these changes
  • Irregular signatures on cheques or legal documents.

Property & empowerment matters, such as

  • Property damage
  • Unusual or inappropriate financial transfers such as unauthorised withdrawals from their bank account
  • Belongings going missing
  • Family have returned to live in the older person’s home and the older person’s does not feel their rights or routines are being respected
  • Feeling helpless about the situation they find themselves in today.

What type of services are provided?

A combination of services is used to enable care coordination for the older person so they can achieve a successful outcome to their situation with their family, carer, or significant other (if appropriate).

The Better Place Australia Family Consultant can support the older person and their family (if appropriate) with the following:

  • Advocacy & Support
  • Empowerment & Coaching
  • Counselling
  • Financial Counselling
  • Warm referral to appropriate support service (e.g. Liaison with other health and aged care services)
  • Liaison with Police, Family Violence agencies and the Judicial system
  • Liaison with legal services such as Seniors Rights, Appeals Tribunal and the Public Advocate.

Resolving conflict

The service supports older people to address conflict or issues, and their families (where appropriate) to talk freely (through an advocate or on their own) about their wishes in a supportive environment. Where safe and appropriate to do so the service offers the opportunity for participants to reach resolution and promote better outcomes for future decision making while seeking to preserve relationships.

A Better Place Australia Family Consultant may organise:

  • Facilitated family meetings
  • Mediation
  • Conflict resolution
  • Agreement formulation between concerned parties where appropriate.

A Family Consultant will provide advice and support to the older person to enable a safe way in which they can feel empowered to change their situation. The Family Consultant monitors the older person’s safety and where safe to do so can meet with family and facilitate family meetings.

What you can expect

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An experienced family consultant can help the older person with

  • An initial intake and assessment with the older person independent of other family members or carers being present (if this is their wish)
  • Ongoing risk assessment and responding to safety needs
  • Advocacy and support
  • Counselling and coaching
  • Referral to police when there is an immediate risk of physical harm or damage to the older person’s property.
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We can also help with referrals to appropriate support services, such as

  • Liaison with other health and aged care services
  • Liaison with Police, Family Violence agencies and the Judicial system
  • Liaison with legal services such as Seniors Rights, Appeals Tribunal and the Public Advocate and support with the Intervention Order (IVO) process.

What do we provide?

There are many types of non-medication related therapies that have been found to be effective for people experiencing anxiety and depression including talk-based therapy and reminiscent therapy.

Our therapies may not only support a person to recover but can also help to prevent the anxiety or depression from reoccurring.

The services will be delivered on an individual basis and/or through group sessions. The services will be offered via phone, via tele-health and if safe, through face-to-face consultations.

We will work with you to find the most effective service catered to your individual needs.

All services are provided at your Residential Care Home by face-to-face visits, phone, or video calling.

If you would like to talk to someone about accessing the service at your Residential Care Home, please speak to your RN, GP or Rhonda Withers on 03 9556 5333 or via email rhonda.withers@betterplace.com.au

For Residential Care Home staff and General Practitioners

The prevalence of mental illness is higher amongst residents of Aged Care Homes than it is for the general population, however Mental Health Services are not routinely available.

Where mental illness is diagnosed in residential aged care residents, the most likely intervention is the prescription of medication despite their known side effects and the risk of drug-disease interactions which are more common in the elderly.

However, research evidence suggests that there are a range of non-pharmacological psychosocial interventions that are effective alternatives to the prescription of medication for the treatment of mental illness in frail aged people living in residential care facilities.

Up until recently, Psychological support services for residents in Aged Care Homes have not been routinely available.

We are very pleased to announce that this is no longer the situation!

The Commonwealth Government has provided funding through Primary Health Networks to provide Psychological services for residents in Aged Care Homes.

Better Place Australia is providing these services in the North and West Regions of Melbourne and on the Mornington Peninsula at no charge.

We work closely and collaboratively with Aged Care Homes to support residents with low to mild diagnosed mental health conditions and/or those who are at risk of mental illness. This includes residents with dementia, anxiety, depression, social isolation, and new residents transitioning into Residential Aged Care Facilities.

The services will be delivered on an individual basis and/or through group sessions. The services will be offered via phone, via tele-health and through face-to-face, where appropriate to do so.

As a part of the program, Better Place Australia also offer a free education program for all staff that focuses on Mental Health in the elderly.

This new service does not duplicate the role of programs and services that support residents with severe and complex mental health needs and/or programs that supports residents with behavioural symptoms of dementia (BPSD).

If you would like to discuss the program in more detail, please contact Rhonda Withers on 03 9556 5333 or via email rhonda.withers@betterplace.com.au

How do I refer to the service?

The service is designed to empower the older person and advocate on their behalf. A referral to the service can come from the older person directly, a concerned family member or friend or a referring agency.

To refer an older person and/or their family to the Respecting Elders or Elder Abuse Prevention Service, please contact: 1800 214 117 or email to respectingelders@betterplace.com.au with your contact details.

 

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