INFORMATION FOR OUR SENIORS
Elder abuse 'rampant' and 'all-hidden' in New Zealand
Age Concern Elder Abuse response advisor Farishta Peterson-Ihaka wants to raise awareness for Elder Abuse week a silent problem that affects thousands of elderly Kiwis.
Anyone concerned can call the 24 hour helpline - 0800 326 6865 - to be directed to the nearest Elder Abuse Response Service.
More than 75 per cent of abuse against an elderly person is by a family member, often a child or grandchild.
Elder abuse can be financial, psychological, physical or sexual, and can affect men and women regardless of their race, religion, class or sexual orientation. It could be verbal harassment or humiliation, preventing decision-making, isolation or over-medication.
However, Peterson-Ihaka said that abuse against elderly people is mostly financial. A common threat is that the elderly person won't have access to their grandchildren, unless they comply with the child's demands.
Last year, Age Concern's elder abuse services received over 2200 referrals across the country - two thirds of which were confirmed cases of abuse or neglect.
Peterson-Ihaka's role as Elder Abuse response advisor is one of support and advocacy. Once she has assessed what a client needs, she refers them to the right people: often legal services, Te Piki Oranga or Support Works. Often the victim has been isolated by the abuser, and doesn't know where to go to get help.
"They won't go on their own either, especially if they've been isolated," Peterson-Ihaka said. "So that often helps straightaway, that they can see that there's someone there to sit beside them, someone to be there."
Peterson-Ihaka said that one of the difficulties in her work is encouraging victims to speak up, and gaining their consent for her to intervene. "I only get what comes in and I can only do whatever the client gives me consent to do," Peterson-Ihaka said.
Often there is a difficulty in convincing the victim that they are, in fact, being abused.
Presbyterian Support South Island Regional Manager Chris Walsh said that Elder Abuse is often hidden due to this reluctance to complain.
"They're the elderly, they're behind closed doors," Walsh said. "They're socially isolated . . . they don't talk about it as well, they're from a generation where you don't complain. Often they're too scared, often they've been abused for a long time, and not a lot of it is crisis."
“Be aware of the elderly people in your life” said Walsh. "If you have elderly neighbours, just say hi," he said. "Never make assumptions that they're doing as well as you think they might be."
See full Story at: Stuff - Sophie Trigger Jun 18 2019
Elder Abuse Response Service launched
We know that 79% of those who report elder abuse are harmed by family members and 43% of victims live with their abuser.
Seniors Minister Maggie Barry has launched a new Elder Abuse Response Service, including a free and confidential 24/7 helpline. Registered nurses will listen and advise anyone who needs information or support about elder abuse, including victims, and concerned friends and family members. Callers will be referred to local elder abuse services to get the help they need.
Translation services are also available.
Read Minister Barry’s announcement.
LINKS TO AGENCIES
Greypower - greypowermarlborough.webstarts.com
MSD Seniors - www.msd.govt.nz/what-we-can-do/seniorcitizens
Age Concern - ageconcern.org.nz
Office for Seniors - officeforseniors.govt.nz/our-work/raising-awareness-of-elder-abuse/
People First Links for Elderly and Disable
Say No to Abuse Booklet
Abuse and Neglect Report Form
People First Easy Read Resources
Netsafe Downloadable Scam Aware Flyer
Government consulting on draft ageing strategy
The Government is inviting feedback on a draft new ageing strategy.
The deadline to submit feedback is 3 June 2019
The strategy, Better Later Life – He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034, includes safety and elder abuse.
In the foreword, Minister for Seniors Tracey Martin says: "This draft strategy recognises that we need to take a fresh look at what we have to do to make sure New Zealand has the right policies in place for our ageing population."
Here are the five key principles outlined in the strategy.
The previous Positive Ageing Strategy was created in 2001. This new strategy takes into account changes and predicted future changes in the ageing population.
An action plan will be developed over the following two years to implement this work, but it is noted in the strategy that initial priorities could be agreed and progressed now, including a focus on addressing elder abuse. The strategy is expected to be finalised this year.
Read the complete strategy Better Later Life – He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034. Also see the brief summary of the strategy.
For more information see MSD's Super Seniors website on the ageing strategy.
To give feedback you can:
See full story HERE