News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Raising Awareness and Understanding of Elder Abuse

Raising Awareness and Understanding of Elder Abuse

The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) will be supporting World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on Saturday, June 17, and is encouraging all New Zealanders to join in.

The MHF is committed to working with vulnerable population groups to support their mental health and wellbeing, and older people are more vulnerable than many people believe.

“We want to draw attention to elder abuse,” says Marie Hull-Brown, Mental Health Promoter for Older People, “because so often it goes on right under our noses and nobody is aware of it”.

Marie, who just celebrated her 86th birthday, will be dedicating two episodes of her radio show, The Vintage Years on Planet FM, to the issue of elder abuse.

Although media reports of elder abuse in rest homes and hospitals attract public attention, elder abuse isn’t just physical abuse. It’s using older people’s money without consent, infantilising older people, and trying to control their decisions about where they live, where they go, and who they talk to.

Elder abuse is usually carried out by a family member, and often no one knows what to do about it. Marie has some advice:

“If you notice that your older friend or neighbour has experienced a sudden change in their life, such as a child or grandchild moving in with them, find an excuse to have a private chat with them to see how they really feel about it,” she says. “Never ignore unexpected changes.”

Since an amendment to the Crimes Act in 2012, it is an offence to fail to report suspected abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult. Marie advises those who have concerns to first talk to the person you’re worried about, and then to contact Age Concern.

The MHF wishes to remind Kiwis that we can all take part in taking care of the older people in our lives. Popping in to have a cup of tea with neighbours, remembering to respect the wishes and decisions of family members (even if we don’t agree with them), and supporting older people to keep in touch with those who are important to them are small things that will make a big difference.

If you wish to take part in WEAAD, contact your local Age Concern to find out about activities in your area.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland