Protecting the rights of older Queenslanders during COVID-19

The Seniors Legal and Support Service is providing critical assistance to older Queenslanders to support them through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Older people bear the lion’s share of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cybele Koning, CEO of Caxton Legal Centre.   “They face a disproportionate risk of death, are impacted more profoundly by social distancing measures and they are further threatened due to their care support needs and living in higher-risk environments such as aged care facilities.”

The statistics are already telling. In Australia, sadly, all deaths due to the virus have been of older people.  

“The primary concern is that our health system may not be able to cope with the number of people who become seriously unwell and that decisions made about treatment may deny older Queenslanders their right to health services and life on an equal basis with others,” Cybele said. 

Lawyers and social workers in the Seniors Legal and Support Service are working with older people to relieve what may be the unintended consequences flowing from social distancing measures.  

“Social isolation is a risk factor for elder abuse,” said Colette Bots, director of the service. 

“At the moment we are focussed on ways for older people to increase their connectedness with essential services, stay safely connected with family and friends and increase their knowledge about the impact of Covid-19 and how to protect their rights during the pandemic.” 

People can access the Seniors Legal and Support Service by telephoning Caxton Legal Centre on (07) 3214 6333. The service is currently providing legal advice and social work help by telephone.