'It's not ok': Elder abuse rife in Kiwi families

Leah Panapa 13/10/2021

LISTEN: Elder abuse incidences often go unheard but it's an issue that is far greater than many would expect.

Elder abuse is a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person. 

10 percent of over 65s in New Zealand experience abuse, according to the New Zealand Longitudinal Study of Ageing. 

It is estimated that only one in 14 abuse incidences are brought to the attention of a service agency that can intervene and help stop the abuse.

There is a perception that elder abuse occurs predominantly in rest homes but it occurs more frequently within family homes and communities.

Hanny Naus, Age Concern elder abuse and neglect prevention national coordinator, says there are many forms of elder abuse.

"The most common is psychological abuse which involves a whole lot of manipulation and coercion," she told Magic Talk.

Almost half of the abuse seen by Age Concern is financial abuse and while physical abuse does happen it's not the most common, Naus said.

Elder abuse can reduce the person’s independence, self-esteem, confidence, and safety, especially if the person is dependent on others. 

However, it can be hard for older people to talk about their abuse when it happens for a variety of reasons.

Confidential Age Concern Elder Abuse Services can be found throughout the country.
If you cannot find a service close to you, contact 0800 EA NOT OK (0800 32 668 65) or Age Concern on 0800 652 105.

Listen to the full interview with Hanny Naus above.

Magic Talk | Mornings with Leah Panapa, weekdays from 9am.

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