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Elder abuse prevention to be discussed at national forum

August 5, 2013

Elder abuse and neglect prevention to be discussed at national forum

Elder abuse and neglect prevention is the subject of a two day forum in Wellington this week.

Organised by Age Concern New Zealand the annual forum this year also marks 20 years of elder abuse and neglect prevention (EANP) services in New Zealand.

Nearly 50 EANP staff from throughout the country will spend Tuesday to Thursday listening, learning and sharing.

Topics include EANP service philosophy and practice guidelines; balancing consumer rights and duty of care; police protocols for answering domestic calls; hoarding, self neglect and ethical decision making; support workers education; and scams.

Age Concern New Zealand elder abuse and neglect prevention national advisor Louise Collins says elder abuse is a serious national problem.

“Age Concern is committed to stamping it out and after Thursday staff will be even better equipped to combat abuse and neglect in its various forms,” she said.

“It can be financial abuse – using their money or possessions without their consent. It can be threats or coercion; physical abuse – hitting older people or locking them inside; depriving them of social contact or not providing the care they need.

“Our staff are at the frontline of dealing with older people in what are often complex and emotional situations.”

Mrs Collins said most of the elder abuse cases that Age Concern sees also happens within families and hidden from the community - and even neighbours.

“Older people tell us that having someone else beside them, encouraging them to speak out, letting them know it is okay to ask for help, makes a huge difference.”

Mrs Collins said elder abuse and neglect prevention is a specialist area and the intensive training and knowledge staff would gain at the forum was invaluable.

“We hope they will be invigorated at having learnt new skills to improve their practice. They will also be more familiar with using the resources provided by Age Concern New Zealand.”

ENDS

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