Senior man sitting down

Ivan's language barriers and elder abuse

Ivan wants to move into a nursing home. He has limited English language skills and is hard-of-hearing making it difficult for him to arrange.

Last updated: 12 July 2024

Ivan, a migrant to Australia, lived in the home he owned with his son, and his daughter lived in a granny flat on the same property.

Ivan’s wife had recently passed away and he was still grieving over her loss. He wanted to move into a nursing home but with limited English language skills and being hard-of-hearing it was difficult for him to arrange.

Many older people from culturally diverse backgrounds face additional barriers to seeking help for elder abuse. These can include limited English skills, social isolation, dependency on family members and stigma and shame. When these barriers co-exist with increased physical ailments accessing help can be very difficult.

Additionally, when an older person loses their partner the grief can be overwhelming. The impatience of family members for an older person to come to terms with loss and make changes in their lives combined with the vulnerability brought on by grief can be a recipe for elder abuse.

Conflict existed between Ivan’s adult children and his daughter had taken a domestic violence order out against his son which had required him to move out of Ivan’s house. Ivan was distraught. Ivan was also concerned about a renovation of the granny flat his daughter was intending to carry out against his wishes.

Caxton Legal Centre’s lawyer and social worker team visited Ivan at home three times to assist him because telephone communication with an interpreter was too difficult in the face of Ivan’s hearing difficulties.

They arranged an assessment by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) and provided Ivan with legal advice in relation to the conflict between his children. He also sought Caxton’s advice about Enduring Power of Attorney documents and his Will.

With Caxton’s support and the requisite ACAT assessment completed, Ivan moved into a nursing home. He has updated his Will and EPOA and now approaches the future confident that these essential documents reflect his needs.

Credit: Published on Compass with permission from Caxton Legal Centre