Raising awareness key to tackling elder abuse

  • John Carter
Senior Citizens

Raising awareness, talking about the issues and thinking about responsibility are the keys to tackling elder abuse and neglect, Senior Citizens Minister John Carter said today.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010 is the 5th World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

"My goal is that everyone in New Zealand knows how to spot elder abuse and how they can deal with it," Mr Carter said. "All older people should be treated with respect and dignity - end of story.

"It saddens me that there are older people in New Zealand who are lonely, neglected, afraid, and at the worst end of the scale, being abused. It is not OK for us to ignore people who might be friends, neighbours, family members or someone we know about in our neighbourhood.

"Abuse can be physical, psychological, sexual or financial - the stripping of assets and leaving older people in poverty, unsafe and fearful.

"The It's Not OK campaign against family violence includes an information booklet called Take the Time...Value Older People. This is one source of information on identifying signs of elder abuse and what to do to get help. We need to speak up when we suspect something is not right.

"It is important there is public discussion about what elder abuse is. This is the way communities have come to learn about child abuse and domestic violence.

"I am pleased to report the Ministry of Social Development is further raising staff awareness of elder abuse and neglect to ensure frontline staff know what to do when they encounter cases of suspected or actual elder abuse or neglect."

For more information: www.areyouok.org.nz