Elder Abuse Programmes For Six More Regions

  • David Carter
Senior Citizens

Senior Citizens Minister David Carter today announced the six regions which will receive the first of 12 new elder abuse and neglect programmes, to be phased in over two years.

The regions where a programme will be operating from the start of January 1999 include Manukau, Tauranga, Hawkes Bay, Kapiti, South Canterbury and Dunedin.

Four more programmes will be phased in other parts of the country from 1 July 1999, with two more services being set up in July 2000.

Mr Carter said elder abuse and neglect was a real problem for communities, but too often older people didn't feel comfortable talking about, or confronting, the issue.

"Most elder abuse and neglect is perpetrated by family members. Obviously it's a very sensitive subject, but these programmes suceed by using local people in a low key fashion."

"Older people frequently remain in situations that are abusive or involve neglect because they don't want to create a fuss. The beauty of the programme is that the local co-ordinator can tap into the appropriate agencies to support the person, without harming family relationships."

The 12 new programmes which will be phased in over the next two years come on top of an existing seven elder abuse and neglect programmes, as well as three more services which were announced in September.

The total cost to the Government of the programmes is $1 million.

"When the 12 additional services are all up and operating New Zealand will have nation-wide support networks for older people who are suffering from some form of abuse or neglect. We can be proud of our track record in supporting older people in need," says Mr Carter.

Last weekend, the New Zealand Community Funding Agency which funds the services, advertised for local providers for the six new services which will be operational from January.

The providers have to be able to demonstrate experience working with older people, have links to relevant agencies and professionals and an understanding of different cultures.

Currently Age Concern runs the existing ten programmes across the country, plus provides a national co-ordination of the services.