Help when you need it: the NSW Retirement Village Residents Association (RVRA) answers your questions about living in a retirement village

This week we talk about the issue of elder abuse in retirement villages.

By definition, retirement villages are populated by elderly citizens, and occasionally the RVRA receives reports alleging elder abuse. Abusive behavior can be initiated by residents, village staff, village visitors or even family members of a resident.

The law governing the operation of retirement villages in New South Wales sets out rules of conduct that village operators and their staff must follow. The rules are designed to establish the standards of conduct and behavior that are expected of operators and their staff in relation to the management and operation of a retirement village, including knowledge of relevant laws.

One of these rules obliges operators to prepare and implement a strategy to identify and prevent any elder abuse in the retirement village, whatever the source. A copy of the strategy must be posted on the notice board in the retirement village, and all operator staff are required to familiarize themselves with the strategy.

At a minimum, the strategy should illustrate the potential extent of the problem by providing examples of common forms of elder abuse as well as specific examples in relation to retirement villages.

Information is also required:

(a) on how to identify elder abuse, including signs of elder abuse, and how to prevent elder abuse,

(b) on ways to respond to elder abuse or concerns about suspected elder abuse (including procedures for reporting abuse and escalating concerns to appropriate organizations and authorities, and timelines for responding), and

(vs) provide advice on accessing services and resources from the New South Wales Elder Abuse Helpline and Resource Unit, Aging and Disability Commissioner and other services relevant premises and support agencies.

An explanation of the roles and responsibilities of the operator and operator staff with respect to elder abuse in the retirement village should also be provided.

An operator must review its strategy every two years.

Elder abuse can come from many backgrounds, and the strategy should be developed in such a way that everyone in a retirement village can recognize the cases that arise and know what to do about it. RVRA and village operator organizations will always cooperate to ensure this happens.

Learn more about RVRA HERE.

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