Elder Abuse Hits Close to Home

Age Concern is raising awareness of elder abuse during Elder Abuse Awareness Week from 15-22 June which begins on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15 June 2017.
Something many people find shocking is that elder abuse often happens with in families in N.Z. Unfortunately Age Concern elder abuse statistics show that; 75% of alleged abusers are family members, 50% of the alleged abusers are adult children or grandchildren, 50/50 – alleged abusers are as likely to be female as male.
Age Concern N.Z. Chief Executive, Stephanie Clare, says that the shame or stigma often means people don’t always report abuse happening within their family. “This is one of the reasons it stays hidden. Many older people feel ashamed their own flesh and blood are treating them badly, so they won’t talk about it,” she said.
Age Concern have an average of eight calls per day about older people suspected of being abused or neglected. In three quarters of these cases, abuse or neglect is confirmed.
“We know that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The more people understand about elder abuse and what they can do to stop it, the better.”
Stephanie Clare says that although Age Concern receives over 2,000 referrals of elder abuse every year, including financial, psychological, physical abuse, we know that our services can make a difference and improve the lives of older N.Z.’s. We see it every day in the work we do. 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. But Stephanie says that we all need to keep an eye out for elder abuse in our communities. “Don’t let fear of meddling in someone else’s business stop you from voicing your concern. It is time to stop elder abuse in our communities and if we all pull together we can achieve this,” she said.
Age Concern needs help stopping elder abuse in our communities. We need families to stand up and make sure they all play a part protecting our older people and to seek our help if they suspect any abuse is happening. “We need people to stand up and challenge disrespectful attitudes towards older people, by promoting respect. We need to love and support them, honour their wisdom, encourage them to make their own decisions and let them set their own pace.”
If you suspect and older person is not being treated well or want to report abuse please visit www.ageconcern.org.nz for the contact details of the nearest Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Service. N.Z.’s can also show support by donating to Age Concern www.ageconcern.org.nz

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