Balancing the older person’s rights and carers needs: Elder abuse in the context of dementia

Older woman

People with dementia are especially vulnerable to elder abuse, particularly from family members and carers. 

However, when confronted with instances of elder abuse, service providers often struggle to balance the carer’s needs and the older person’s rights.  

Without clear and consistent messaging and training, significant discrepancies can arise in provider responses to elder abuse in the context of dementia.

Addressing the gap 

Three short films have been developed that exemplify best-practice responses to cases of elder abuse in the context of dementia:

  • where the carer financially abuses the person with dementia
  • where the person with dementia physically abuses the carer
  • where there is neglect related to advancing dementia. 

These State Trustees Australia Foundation funded films were co-produced with providers.

The film scripts have been developed with older people, carers, and service providers across aged care and health services. 


Associate Professor Bianca Brijnath, Director of Social Gerontology, NARI introduces the films: watch the video


Older woman

Financial abuse: watch the video


Older woman

Physical abuse: watch the video


Older man

Neglect: watch the video

Minister Luke Donnellan

Luke Donnellan, Victorian Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers endorses and speaks about the importance of these films: Watch the video

Read the media release 

Read more about NARI elder abuse research


Project team:Assoc Prof Bianca Brijnath (NARI), Prof Briony Dow (NARI), Dr Josefine Antoniades (NARI), Dr Luke Gahan (formerly NARI, now Red Cross Blood Service). 

Special thanks to:

  • State Trustees Australia Foundation for funding and supporting this important work. 
  • The older people, carers and services that gave their time and energy to co-write the scripts with us. 
  • Why Documentaries for producing the films. 
  • Ms Lindell Claff for administrative support.