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.
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.
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.
being dependant on others
family conflict or dysfunction
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