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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

15 June 2008 Media Statement

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an opportunity to expose the abuse of older people.

“We need to change social attitudes by raising community awareness about the abuse and neglect of older people. The abuse of older people is a hidden problem but best estimates are that between 3–10 per cent of older New Zealanders (15,000-50,000 people) experience abuse," said Ruth Dyson Minister for Senior Citizens in recognition of today’s third annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

“Older people need to be aware of their rights and the services and resources that are available to them. We want older people to be part of their communities, act for themselves, exercise their rights and advocate for their own interests.”

"The Government is working on a range of initiatives to stop the abuse of older people and has taken significant steps to promote positive ageing. To achieve this, the government funds prevention services in 24 communities,” said Ruth Dyson.

Government initiatives to help prevent abuse of older people:

• The New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy, launched in 2001, encourages older people to participate in their communities and recognises the value of their knowledge, skills and experience.

• The Government’s Pathway to Partnership investment into the community based family, child and youth services will also strengthen the capacity, capability and sustainability of existing elder abuse and neglect services.

• The Family Violence Intervention Guidelines: Elder Abuse and Neglect have been released to support health providers to assist older people experiencing abuse.

• The Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 has been amended so that the enduring powers of attorney provisions are strengthened. This will provide greater protections for people whose mental incapacity requires them to rely on other people to make care, welfare and property decisions on their behalf.

• A code of practice for home equity release schemes has been developed. Equity release schemes allow older people to use some of the capital they have in their homes so that their lifestyle can be maintained and they can remain in their own homes. The code will help to protect older people's financial interests.

ends

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