17 March 2020


The National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) will today launch a new film series: Balancing the
older person’s rights and carers needs: Elder abuse in the context of dementia, to provide health and
aged care workers with the knowledge and confidence to respond to elder abuse in the context of

Associate Professor Bianca Brijnath, Director of Social Gerontology at NARI, said the films will lead
to improved care of some of the most vulnerable older people in our community.

"A consistent and fair approach to dealing with abuse n the context of dementia is possible," said Associate Professor Brijnath."  Steps can be taken which keep families together and stop abuse."

The films were developed in response to NARI research that showed health and aged care workers
wanted clearer advice on what to do when they encounter abuse in the context of dementia.

“Workers struggle to balance carer needs and the older person’s rights, grappling with the ethics of
elder abuse because of carer stress,” said Associate Professor Brijnath. “They are also often unsure
whether to instigate police or legal intervention.”

“We expect the films will inspire consistency and quality of responses across the health and aged
care services sector.”

The films address three common types of elder abuse: financial, neglect and physical violence. They
role-play how frontline workers should respond to suspected elder abuse, and provide explicit
instructions on what to do and where to go for help.

NARI research shows older people with dementia are uniquely vulnerable to elder abuse as
cognitive impairment means they are often unable to stop or report the abuse, which occurs largely
within families.

Associate Professor Brijnath said the films are based on the lived experiences of people. “While
performed by actors, the film’s stories are very real and were co-written with carers, older people
and service providers.”

She said the films have been validated across health, aged care, and social services as well as among
older people and their carers.

The elder abuse films were made in conjunction with production company Why Documentaries and
funded by State Trustees Australia Foundation.

Films can be accessed via the NARI website: www.nari.net.au.

Balancing the older person’s rights and carers needs: Elder abuse in the context of dementia, will
be launched online at www.nari.net.au, at 11am on Tuesday 17 March 2020.

Notes to editor:

For more information, or to arrange an interview:

Rebecca Matthews
Media and Communications Manager:
[email protected] 03 8387 2314 or 0414 980 452

Find NARI on Twitter: @NAgeingRI
The National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) is Australia’s only independent national research
institute dedicated to ageing. NARI is committed to improving the life and health of older people
through research and its translation into evidence based practice.