Elder Abuse And Neglect - It's Not OK!

20th June 2019

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Elderly woman crying into a tissue

What does Elder Abuse look like?

There are different types of abuse, and commonly several types occur together. These include:


Psychological Abuse

  • Behaviour causing mental anguish, stress or fear.  For example:
  • ridicule or threats
  • harassment or humiliation
  • preventing choice or decision-making
  • withholding affection

Financial Abuse                                                 

Illegal or improper use of money, property or other assets.  For example:

  • unauthorised taking of money or possessions
  • misuse of power of attorney
  • failure to repay loans
  • use of home and/or utilities without contributing to costs
  • scams that rely on establishing a relationship with the older person with the intention of exploiting their savings and/or assets, e.g. romance scams

10 Tips To Promote Respect And Prevent Abuse 

 1.  Love and cherish your older relatives / whānau.
 2.  Speak respectfully to older people / kaumātua.
 3.  Include older people / kaumātua in your social activities.
 4.  Phone or visit your older relatives / whānau.
 5.  Support older people / kaumātua to spend their money how they wish.

 6.  Encourage and support older people / kaumātua to

      make their own decisions.

 7.  Honour older people’s / kaumātua’s wisdom.
 8.  Enable older people / kaumātua to set their own pace.
 9.  Respect older people’s / kaumātua’s stories.

 10. Seek advice from an Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Service when

       you think an older person / kaumatua is being abused or neglected.


Physical Abuse

Infliction of pain, injury or use of force.  For example:

  • hitting, pushing, rough handling
  • over-medication
  • inappropriate use of restraints or confinement


Not providing for physical, emotional or social needs.

For example:

  • inadequate food, clothing, shelter
  • lack of social contact, support
  • health needs not attended to

Sexual Abuse

Non-consensual sexual acts or exploitive behaviours.

For example:

  • inappropriate touching
  • sexual acts with someone unable to give consent

Institutional Abuse

A policy or accepted practice within an organisation that disregards a person’s rights or causes harm. For example:

  • lack of respect for a person’s culture or customs
  • inappropriate rationing of continence products
  • inflexible routines e.g. breakfast at 8 am in the dining room

"To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honours!"

- Tia Walker

What’s Happening in New Zealand?

Elder abuse is a global issue and in New Zealand affects men and women people regardless of the religion, income level, culture, sexual orientation or ethnic group they identify with.  Much abuse is unreported to agencies, but last year Age Concern’s elder abuse services received more than 2,200 referrals.  Two thirds of these were confirmed to involve elder abuse or neglect.  

More than one type of abuse usually occurs in these situations of which: 
• more than 70% involved psychological abuse
• more than 50% involved financial abuse
• 18% involved physical abuse
• 18% involved neglect
• 18% involved self-neglect

In these situations that Age Concerns have worked with: 
• more than 50% of the alleged abusers are children or grandchildren
• more than 75% of the alleged abusers are family/relatives

Elder abuse and neglect is also identified by a range of other agencies including health providers, Police, other Elder Abuse Response Services, lawyers, banks, or other community and government agencies.


How can Elder Abuse and Neglect be Prevented?

Age Concern works towards preventing elder abuse and neglect by information sharing and by encouraging us all to:

  • Respect older people / kaumātua
  • Support older people / kaumātua to make their own decisions
  • Check that older people / kaumātua’s human rights are met
  • Ensure that older people / kaumātua live safe and secure, free from violence
  • Challenge ageist attitudes that denigrate the value of the older generation

source: https://www.ageconcern.org.nz/ACNZPublic/Services/EANP/ACNZ_Public/Elder_Abuse_and_Neglect.aspx

Elder Abuse Response Services

Age Concern provides free and confidential Elder Abuse Response Services in most cities and provincial areas throughout New Zealand. These services respond to any situations where an older person / kaumātua’s safety or wellbeing is at risk. These services employ professional staff to work with older people / kaumātua and their family / whanau to provide support and advice towards reducing the harm caused by elder abuse and neglect. 

 To contact an Age Concern that offers an Elder Abuse Response Service click here. You can also ring the 24 hour helpline on 0800 326 6865 to be directed to the nearest Elder Abuse Response Service. 

How Can LifeLot Help Our Elderly?

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An added bonus to keeping as much of this personal information recorded somewhere safe is that lawyers find it a lot easier to defend your will when your clear wishes are defined and your motivations recorded safely. 

LifeLot members have access to the templates available - if you don't already have a will, enduring powers of attorney or an advanced care plan. You can even take advantage of special negotiated rates for LifeLot members if you choose to use one of our preferred lawyers.

By ensuring this information is all recorded and up-to-date you can leave your loved ones in comfort, not confusion by taking care of the medicallegal and financial documents they'll need after you've gone.

Want a LifeLot account but it seems 'too hard'? Perhaps you are not as tech-savvy as some and need a little guidance? 

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