Elder Abuse Awareness
It is time to stop elder abuse
Age Concern Wanganui needs help stopping elder abuse in our community.
Although Age Concern’s across New Zealand receive 2,000 referrals of elder abuse every year, including financial, psychological, physical abuse, there is still hope that we can all make a difference and improve the lives of older New Zealanders.
Age Concern’s elder abuse and neglect prevention (EANP) teams work closely with older people and their families to resolve issues of abuse and ensure it does not reoccur.
Age Concern also works in communities to educate people about the signs and effects of abuse to help prevent it from happening and how to challenge disrespectful attitudes towards older people.
We can challenge disrespectful attitudes towards older people, by promoting respect.
Cherish your older relatives, respect and honour their wisdom, include them in your plans and social activities, encourage them to make their own decisions and let them set their own pace.
We all need to keep an eye out for elder abuse in our communities.
Age Concern Wanganui’s message -“If you see something…..say something. It is time to stop elder abuse in our community and we need your help.”
Age Concern is raising awareness of elder abuse during Elder Abuse Awareness Week June 15-22 which begins on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day June 15.
Raising awareness around this issue is imperative. EANP services receive an average of eight calls per day about older people suspected of being abused or neglected. Age Concern Wanganui averages twelve referrals per month. In three quarters of these cases, abuse or neglect is confirmed. Across New Zealand the most commonly reported types are financial abuse and psychological abuse.
Just because someone is old it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter what happens to them anymore or they don’t need money to spend. They probably don’t have the ability to recoup money taken and getting a job to support themselves is probably unlikely.
Decisions are often made for the older person without even asking them what it is they want. Or, they ridicule them about the decisions they do make. Sometimes, older people are pressured into doing things they don’t really want to do – like giving a loan, selling their house or letting a family member move in with them for free. Attitudes like these show a lack of respect for the older person, for their quality of life and for their needs.
We need to recognise that older people have a lot to contribute and are very valuable members of families and the community.
More than three quarters of elder abuse and neglect in New Zealand occurs at the hands of family members. About half of abusers are adult children and about half of the abused elders are over 80-years-old. Many older people feel ashamed their own flesh and blood is treating them badly, so they won't talk about it.
At Age Concern Wanganui we say elder abuse is hiding in plain sight and it’s not OK.
If you are concerned about a family member, neighbour, friend or yourself……contact Age Concern Wanganui – 06 345 1799 or firstname.lastname@example.org