World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Elder abuse is not something that happens elsewhere, it’s in our community, and we need to do something about it, says Ready for Living coordinator Kylie Aitken.
This Wednesday (15 June) is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, an opportunity to promote a better understanding of the abuse and neglect suffered by older persons.
Ms Aitken said as many as one in 10 older people in New Zealand experience some form of elder abuse, but most abuse isn’t recognised or is ignored.
“In Gore, about four cases of elder abuse are reported each month. Some of the cases involve serious neglect.
“It is heartbreaking. Often the abuse is hidden.”
Abuse can come in many forms. It’s not just violence or assault, she said.
“It could be someone threatening or humiliating an older person, misusing or stealing their money or pressuring them to sign legal documents.”
Ms Aitken said people could make a difference by raising awareness and speaking up about elder abuse.
“We want our older Kiwis to be free from the fear, mental anguish and emotional pain elder abuse causes.”
Ms Aitken said if anyone suspected a person was experiencing elder abuse, they should talk to them.
It was important not to jump to conclusions but listen to what the person had to say – “give support rather than telling them what to do”.
Anyone wanting to talk about or report elder abuse can call 0800 EA NOT OKAY 0800 32 668 65 for free and confidential support.