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Age Concern Conducts Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention

Media Release: Age Concern New Zealand

19 August 2011

Age Concern Conducts Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Seminar

What can you do to help stamp out elder abuse and neglect?

This challenge was set down by Age Concern’s Professional Adviser Jayne McKendry at an open forum held today at the University of Otago Medical School in Wellington.

Ms McKendry says it is estimated 20,000 New Zealanders will experience elder abuse and neglect at some point in their lifetime, therefore it’s important to educate those who work with older people.

“If you suspect an older person is being abused or neglected, don’t let your fear of meddling in someone else’s business stop you from speaking out.”

“Talk to the older person, let them know you care and are worried about them, but do not put them at risk by confronting the abuser yourself, unless the older person asks you to and you have a plan to keep them safe.”

Post-doctoral candidate Moira Smith, who attended today’s seminar, says the take-home message is to ensure older people are seen within our communities and their perspectives are valued.

Specialist Nurse Consultant Silke Kuehl says she will take what she has learned into her work environment. “Emergency staff need to be able to pick up the signs of elder abuse and perhaps we need a better system to refer people on.”

“A large percentage of our patients are older people and I don’t know if we meet their needs very well,” she says.

Further information about elder abuse and neglect can be found at www.ageconcern.org.nz

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