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Hon Lianne Dalziel: Elder Abuse Unacceptable

Hon Lianne Dalziel
Minister of Commerce, Minister for Small Business,
Minister of Women's Affairs, MP for Christchurch East

Elder abuse unacceptable

Too many older New Zealanders suffer abuse and neglect, Acting Senior Citizens Minister Lianne Dalziel said, marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Lianne Dalziel said a study by Age Concern, the largest provider of services for elder abuse and neglect, showed family members were most often responsible for the neglect, which ranged from failing to provide basic needs, such as food, to misuse of money.

"The Labour-led government funds 24 elder abuse and neglect prevention services throughout New Zealand from Budget 2005 which dedicated an additional $3 million over four years. Age Concern provides 17 services and Presbyterian Support is the next largest service provider, with offices around the country. Age Concern National Office co-ordinates all services."

"Another of the ways in which the government is addressing elder abuse and neglect is through funding that is going into making sure that residential care workers and home-based carers are properly trained and supported.

"Neglect of the elderly is unacceptable. Older people in New Zealand should be fully involved in our communities and enjoying their later years, not suffering isolation or ill-treatment.

"Home equity conversion schemes are becoming increasingly popular for older New Zealanders who own their own homes. From what we have seen, it is not always clear to people at the outset just what they may be committing to. To guard against this, the government is developing a code of practice for home equity conversion schemes," Lianne Dalziel said.

The proposed code seeks to protect the financial interests of older people and help shape this rapidly growing industry at its earlier stages of development.

The Office for Senior Citizens is also reviewing the legislation relating to Enduring Power of Attorney to address concerns about financial abuse of elderly people.

Age Concern's research shows that financial abuse is one of the most common forms of elder abuse, and often occurs by way of misuse of an Enduring Power of Attorney.


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