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Elder Abuse And Neglect Statistics Shocking

Elder Abuse And Neglect Statistics Shocking

More than 70 percent of Elder Abuse and Neglect cases are committed by family members.

For many, the thought of intentionally taking advantage of an aged relation, especially a parent who has cared for them as a child, is difficult to imagine. The reality, however, is somewhat grimmer with statistics released recently by Age Concern showing incidents of Elder Abuse and Neglect are still very much present throughout New Zealand.

With over 961 seniors reporting abuse via Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention (EANP) Services in the year up to September 2009, the overall issue is one that Home Instead Senior Care is keen to highlight within the community. Home Instead Senior Care is a provider of non-medical home help and services for older people.

“Increasing awareness of this issue is one of a number of tools we can use to support our elderly with the issue of Elder Abuse and Neglect,” says Neil Farnworth, general manager of Home Instead Senior Care (NZ).

Mr Farnworth says that while the statistics are worrying enough the greater concern is around those cases of abuse and neglect that go unreported. He explains that Elder Abuse and Neglect includes:

o Physical o Psychological / Emotional o Sexual o Financial / Material o Neglect – (passive and active) The most common form of abuse is psychological, closely followed by material/financial abuse. Abuse is more commonly inflicted upon women - of those being abused or neglected up to 70 percent are female.

Mr Farnworth says a good example of how an elderly family member might fall victim to financial and emotional abuse has been highlighted with the recent economic downturn, which has especially impacted seniors. They have not only seen their investments lose value overnight as values fell but also watched family members struggle financially. Moreover, in the case of Elder Abuse and Neglect, some seniors may have been pressured emotionally into giving family members access to bank accounts, allowing relations to top up their own finances.

“Abusers often make their victims feel powerless to change their circumstances. By giving the victim a voice we can support them, spreading the message that it’s not okay to abuse or neglect anyone, and that includes the elderly.”

Home Instead Senior Care has produced a short presentation to highlight this topic. The presentation has been formatted to share with community groups throughout New Zealand and will be used in conjunction with copies of the Ministry of Social Development’s booklet which focuses on Elder Abuse entitled ‘Take The Time – Value Older People’. It is anticipated that the presentation and handout will raise awareness within the community generally.

Anyone concerned about an elderly relative or neighbour’s safety should contact their nearest Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Service operated by Age Concern or they can contact the Police directly if the situation is an emergency or out of regular business hours.

Home Instead Senior Care team members are available to speak to community groups about Elder Abuse and Neglect in areas where Home Instead offices are located.


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