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New campaign celebrates the elderly

The faces of elderly Latrobe City residents will appear on posters across the City as part of a new campaign to promote positive attitudes towards ageing and senior citizens in Latrobe City. 

The campaign raises awareness of the issues of elder abuse and ageism, and is a project of the Latrobe Elder Abuse Prevention Network, of which Latrobe City Council is a part. 

Elder abuse can take various forms, including: financial, physical, psychological, emotional and sexual abuse or neglect. No older person should be subjected to any form of abuse, including being coerced into handing over property and money. 

It is estimated that one in 10 older people will experience elder abuse. It can be carried out by someone known to the older person, like family members, a friend, a professional or a paid caregiver. 

Ageism is stereotyping, discrimination and mistreatment based solely on a person’s age. When directed towards older people, it comes from negative attitudes and beliefs about what it means to be older. At its extreme, ageism contributes to elder abuse. 

“The elderly are respected and valued members of our community, and that’s why Latrobe City Council is celebrating their contributions to our community,” Latrobe City Council Mayor Cr Sharon Gibson said. 

The Elder Abuse Prevention Network’s The AGE≠OLD (reads: age does not equal old) campaign will see life-sized photos of older Latrobe residents erected around the City with a short story about what they do for the community. 

The public will be able to see the posters on such Council buildings as the Moe Library, Moe Town Hall, Churchill Hub, Morwell Leisure Centre and Traralgon Library, as well as Mid Valley Shopping Centre in Morwell. 

Council staff will give campaign postcards to businesses to raise further awareness. 

People can go to the website www.latrobe.vic.gov.au/ageold for more information about the project, about elder abuse and about support agencies that are able to help. 

Social posts will run on Council’s social media pages concurrently and the public will be invited to take photos of themselves with the posters, using the hashtag #ageold. 

They could also write a positive story about someone they know or thank someone for their community work or contribution to family and friends. 

The campaign was launched on Tuesday, 15 December 2020 at Moe Library and Service Centre by Cr Gibson. 

“At first glance you may see the wrinkles, grey hair and walking stick but behind this you will see diversity, strength and determination,” Cr Gibson said. 

“They have caring hands, their eyes shine brighter and they still work hard in our community. They are all unique, they all have a story and they all make a difference.” 

One of the elderly residents to be photographed and interviewed is Narracan resident, Soula Kannellopoulus. 

A native of the Greek island of Corfu, she came to Australia in September 1964 and became a nurse. “Amongst the many skills and attitudes instilled in me in my upbringing was respect and to help others,” she said. 

Having retired from nursing after 25 years, she now keeps busy with involvement in many cultural and community groups, as well as several committees. 

"As I look back over the years in Australia I feel that I have achieved many of my dreams,” Soula said. 

If you are concerned about elder abuse, contact: 

  • Senior Rights Victoria: 1300 368 821. Free information, advocacy and legal advice for older people or service providers. 
  • Elder Rights Advocacy: 1800 600 700. Free advice and support for older people accessing residential care or a home care package. 
  • 1800ELDERHELP: 1800 353 374. Free advice line for people experiencing elder abuse or services needing advice. 
  • CALD-In Touch: 1800 755 988. Family Violence support service. 
  • Aboriginal inclusive service: 1300 946 337. Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Gippsland Windemere Victims of Crime (all genders). 

For more information on the campaign or the Latrobe Elder Abuse Prevention Network, contact  Latrobe City Council, 1300 367 700 or communitysafety@latrobe.vic.gov.au 

If someone is in immediate danger call 000. 

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