ALTHOUGH the home should be a safe refuge, for some older south-west residents it can be a central part of elder abuse.
To raise awareness about elder abuse within the community the Warm Safe Home project aims to highlight this often under reported form of family violence.
The planned project would have seen 500 small houses made by community members, schools, retirement homes and men's sheds and displayed at Gateway Plaza for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day this June.
But a spanner was thrown in the works with the COVID-19 pandemic and Elder Abuse Prevention Project Worker for South West Victoria Becky Nevin Berger said the decision was made to post the project on Facebook.
In two weeks the page had more than 1800 views.
"My proposition was everyone was stuck at home, kids were looking at three weeks of school holidays," she said.
"It also enabled me to hit a different audience. It's meant i'm engaging different members of the community that may not have known about this project otherwise and also a really interesting cohort when we think about elder abuse prevention."
Ms Nevin Berger said people could contact her via the Facebook page and would be mailed out a craft kit with a house template and a with a work sheet about ageism. People are then asked to share a photo of their paper house on Facebook.
"Ageism is really intrinsic as to why elder abuse happens in the first place," she said. "It's that idea that someone has less rights because of certain ages or milestones.
"The home is a symbol of the family. That home can be the centre of an estate with financial abuse where people are trying to coerce an older person into giving over money.
"We know that access to housing is an issue and sometimes that can put an older person in the position of being as I heard the Commissioner for Seniors Victoria say the 'accommodation of last resort,' so that can put an older person in a vulnerable situation where they're providing accommodation to someone.
"Often that's fine, but sometimes it can put an older person at risk of elder abuse."
To find out more visit www.facebook.com/southwesteldersbusepreventionproject/
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