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New Zealand to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Wellington, June 14, 2016

Seniors Minister Maggie Barry has said that World Elder Abuse Awareness Day tomorrow (June 15) is an opportunity for New Zealanders to show all older people need to be respected and valued.

She will host an event at Parliament tomorrow to mark the day alongside SuperSeniors Champions, who are articulate advocates for older people, strong voices against abuse and role models for positive ageing.

New Study

A new survey commissioned by the Office for Seniors, ‘Attitudes Towards Ageing,’ reveals a large majority of New Zealanders respect and value older people, but problems remain in tackling social isolation, one of the key risk factors in elder abuse.

“While this research shows most people have positive attitudes towards older people – which is vital for senior’s self-esteem and wellbeing – it also shows we still have work to do. Social isolation and loneliness among our seniors is particularly concerning as it increases vulnerability to elder abuse and neglect,” Ms Barry said.

Unreported incidents

There are more than 2000 reported cases of elder abuse and neglect a year, with many more incidences unreported.

“Around one in ten older people have experienced some form of abuse – the majority caused by family members and often emotional and financial rather than physical. We need to get this shameful problem out of the shadows and confront the reality of how prevalent it is in our society,” Ms Barry said.

Direct funding

She said that the Government directly funds 27 elder abuse and neglect prevention services around New Zealand, and Minister Barry wants to do more to tackle one of the contributing factors by addressing social isolation.

“Last year we launched the Community Connects programme as an umbrella group to bring together the large variety of seniors groups and work together towards building age-friendly communities. Pilot projects are now underway in Kapiti, Hamilton and New Plymouth, and we’ll see more New Zealanders able to stay connected and lead fulfilling lives as they get older,” Ms Barry said.

Around the country, providers of elder abuse and neglect prevention services have events planned to mark Elder Abuse Awareness Week and show respect for seniors.

http://superseniors.msd.govt.nz/health-wellbeing/preventing-elder-abuse/weaad-2016.html

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