Elder Abuse Awareness Week begins today which also coincides with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15 June 2020. The week continues until the 22nd June here in New Zealand.
“We need to face the facts that much of the abuse we see at Age Concerns across New Zealand is at the hands of people we should be able to trust and ask for help from,” says Age Concern New Zealand Chief Executive, Stephanie Clare.
With 81% of alleged abusers as family members and 57% of the alleged abusers are adult children or grandchildren, this is an important topic for many older people.
“It is a myth to think that elder abuse is not family violence – it is! And like any family violence, we all need to step up and call it out and report it when we see or suspect it,” says Clare.
“Our Age Concern’s Elder Abuse services received 2,500 referrals for older people last year. That’s ten referrals every working day! I want to see these numbers decline not to increase and we all have a part to play.”
Clare also says that elder abuse is under-reported due to shame and stigma, but this is not okay. It needs to be reported and this is where Age Concern can help.
“One thing we are grateful for is that the Government has announced a 25 million dollar package over the next four year to support elder abuse services. But we need our team of 5 million Kiwis to help too!” says Clare.
If you suspect and an older person is not being treated well or want to report abuse, please call either the elder abuse helpline 0800 EA IS NOT OK or freephone Age Concern 0800 65 2 105 for free and confidential support.
You can also visit Age Concerns website here: www.ageconcern.org.nz
And lastly, here are 10 Tips from Age Concern for how to Be Kind and Stop Elder Abuse
1 Love and cherish your older relatives / whānau.
2 Phone, zoom or facetime older people / kaumātua.
3 Visit older people / kaumātua in your neighbourhood.
4 Involve older people / kaumātua in your social activities.
5 Encourage older people / kaumātua to make their own decisions.
6 Support older people / kaumātua to use their money for their needs.
7 Honour older people’s / kaumātua’s wisdom.
8 Enable older people / kaumātua to set their own pace.
9 Speak respectfully and listen to older people’s / kaumātua’s stories.
10 Seek advice from any Elder Abuse Service or Age Concern if you think an older person / kaumātua is being abused or neglected.