Kāpiti tunes in to Elder Abuse Help Line

Sir Pita Sharples is featured in a new video on the Elder Abuse Help Line.

This year as many as one in ten older people in New Zealand will experience some kind of elder abuse. The majority of cases will go unreported.

Elder abuse is not specific to any one gender, religion, ethnicity, or income group. It may happen at home, in residential care, or in hospitals. Most of the time family members are the abusers.

Understanding elder abuse

Any act that causes harm to an older person is elder abuse. At its most extreme, abuse may be criminal, but it can also be more subtle.

The abuse

There is no single ‘type’ of elder abuse. It can be psychological, financial, physical or sexual. More often than not, people experience more than one type of abuse.

Psychological abuse includes threats, humiliation or harassment. This creates distress, shame, or stress, which often leads to a sense of powerlessness in the older person. It is often a factor in other forms of abuse.

Financial abuse ranges from illegal use of your money (or assets) to coercion (such as being pressured to change a will or sign documents).

Physical abuse includes any personal harm or injury.

Sexual abuse includes any non-consensual sexual activity.

Reported Abuse

Who commits elder abuse?

The abuser is often someone close to their victim. Usually it is someone trusted to care for them: family members, friends and even neighbours. Abusers are often someone they depend on for support or care.

Who are the Abusers- Who is most at risk?

It can be difficult to identify abuse. But being aware of the risk factors can help.

These include:

being dependant on others

family conflict or dysfunction

family violence

isolation

stress in care relationships

mature age children or dependents with a disability or health issues

mental illness and dementia

poor literacy and/or awareness of rights

For more Information see: superseniors.msd.govt.nz/elder-abuse/index.html

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