Elder abuse victims - Maggie and David Sheehan.
Elder abuse victims - Maggie and David Sheehan. Alistair Brightman

OUR SAY: Elder abuse is not okay

ELDER abuse. It's a topic I just can't seem to wrap my head around.

Yet it's an issue far too common in our communities and it needs to come to an end now.

Last week, I spoke with David and Maggie Sheehan, a retired married couple who had been physically and verbally abused by their son and his ex-wife.

While listening to their story, all I could do was paint a mental picture in my head of how it unfolded.

It made me feel sick to the stomach.

The couple, in their 70s, were subject to intense language, accusations, shoving and such strong physical contact it left bruises.

They bravely came forward with their story and set up their own peer support group in a bid to help other victims of elder abuse.


How a person can verbally or physically abuse the very people who gave them life and raised them is barely comprehensible.

The thought of my parents or my grandparents being treated in such a way makes my heart ache.

Even memories of myself speaking disrespectfully to my mum and dad as a moody teenager make me feel guilty into my 20s.

It's stories like David and Maggie's which also make me realise the importance of the Chronicle's recently introduced weekly feature, 'The Story Of.." where we speak with an older member of the community and share their story.

It's when you speak with these old souls when you truly realise they aren't just another person walking our streets.

They're people with stories.

Some have fought in the war, lived through the Great Depression and grown up in a world entirely different to the one we live in now.

Yet there are people who show the older generation absolutely no respect.

If there's one thing I know to be true, there is no excuse for elder abuse.