Art installation brings Elder Abuse into the light

 

Radius Care Brings Elder Abuse into the Light with Powerful Art Installation
(Image Supplied)

Daryll Garcia
Auckland, June 25, 2024

Elder abuse is a silent crisis, affecting as many as one in ten older people in New Zealand, according to Te Tari Kaumātua, the Office for Seniors. But most cases of elder abuse remain unrecognised or ignored. Radius Care is bringing the issue of elder abuse out of the shadows and into the public eye through a confronting art installation called ‘Safety Net’ by artist Mandalina Stanisich.

The artwork provoked people into thinking about the hidden plague of elder abuse and what actions individuals can take to prevent and address it. By bringing this issue into the public eye Ms Stanisich and Radius Care aim to foster greater awareness and intervention.

Rampant elder abuse 

Elder abuse manifests as everything from physical violence and financial exploitation to psychological torment and neglect. The New Zealand Longitudinal Study of Ageing found that 10% of people over 65 in our community experience abuse. Unfortunately, only one in 14 incidents are reported to agencies that can intervene and provide help. Many victims do not recognise themselves as such, making these statistics a grave underestimation of the problem.

An artistic call to action 

Radius Care shined a light on elder abuse through the thought provoking art installation, ‘Safety Net’ for this year’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Week.

The creator of ‘Safety Net’, artist and filmmaker Mandalina Stanisich, produces creative works that address pressing social issues. She began expressing her emotions through art following her mother’s death from a stroke.

The installation featured a dummy covered in eye-catchingly bright crochet, to indicate diversity, and because many people associate crochet with the elderly. The art piece was suspended above Waitematā Britomart’s main train terminal from June 10 – 16, the piece encouraged people to look up, to take action and catch the elderly before they fall. An accompanying easel tells people how and where in the community they may be able to help.

“Radius Care is committed to ensuring that older New Zealanders age with dignity, respect, and the support they deserve. Elder abuse can be as dramatic as physical harm or as subtle as being someone who is ignored and lonely,” says Brien Cree, Executive Chair of Radius Care.

“It is challenging for older people to talk about abuse. Many obstacles prevent them from telling anyone – being socially isolated, having dementia or another illness. New Zealand is also culturally diverse, and it is especially hard for elderly people from some cultures to make complaints.”

Ms Stanisich said “Raising awareness for important social issues is my passion. Elder abuse is an unseen threat that affects so many New Zealanders. I am grateful for Radius Care’s support in making this project possible and for helping to spread the message of ‘Safety Net’. We are the safety net for our elderly, our loved ones. Elder abuse hides in plain sight, and we must help vulnerable Kiwis before they fall.”

“Next time you see elderly neighbour or elderly loved one in your whānau, talk to them – never make assumptions that they’re doing as well as you think they might be.”

World Elder Abuse Awareness Week (June 15 – 22) is a global movement dedicated to raising awareness and combating elder abuse.

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or neglect, please call the free, confidential 24-hour helpline – 0800 326 6865 – to be directed to the nearest Elder Abuse Response Service.

For more information about Radius Care please visit their website https://radiuscare.co.nz/

Daryll Garcia is an Indian Newslink Audience Engagement Expert based in Auckland.

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