AN 86-year-old woman was depressed and suicidal after she had $29,000 worth of gold nuggets and jewellery stolen from her Coodanup home.
Herta Zaliski suspects someone she trusted stole the items and wants to warn others to be careful about revealing where valuables are kept.
Describing a special friendship she had with a man for more than a decade, she said: “I spoilt him and thought he loved me.” .
When Mrs Zaliski discovered her gold missing from a safe, she accused her friend because he knew where her keys were.
The next day she threw a rock through his window and painted “thief” on his garage. The police became involved but no one was charged with stealing.
“It was all my savings from many years,” Mrs Zaliski said.
“I was in shock, fell into depression and was nearly suicidal.
“My doctor put me into hospital.”
Mrs Zaliski does not want the same fate to happen to others and urged people to be careful with securing their valuables.
How to avoid elder abuse
ELDER abuse and exploitation are big problems in the Peel district, according to Peel Crime Prevention officer Sergeant Paul Trimble.
“Media reports of home invasions and bag snatching can give the impression that older people are at a greater risk from strangers,” he said.
“The sad truth is, like child abuse and family violence, abuse of older people is more likely to come from family or friends.
“About 6000 older West Australians live in fear of family or friends – people they should be able to trust.”
Sgt Trimble said abuse was most commonly financial: Family or friends using money or property without permission, forging signatures or forcing or applying pressure to change a will.
Other forms of elder abuse include psychological, emotional, physical and sexual abuse and intentional or unintentional neglect.
“We will be conducting some presentations and information sessions to some of our elderly community members so they can safeguard against becoming a victim of elder abuse from family and friends,” he said.