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April 2, 2011

Increase in Elder Abuse Prompts Introduction of Forums (NEW ZEALAND)


Increase in elder abuse prompts introduction of forums
Fri, 1 Apr 2011
In another attempt to get people talking about elder abuse, Age Concern Otago has organised forums on the social problem.
Training and education co-ordinator Dawn Howe-Dennison said the forums were being held in Dunedin in response to the increasing number of abused elderly reported in the community.
Last year, 71 cases of elder abuse were reported to Age Concern Otago.
In previous years, the average has been about 50.
The weekly forums, which started last month and will continue until the end of the year, were an opportunity for the elderly and those who are in contact with them, either in a work or social environment, to "generate their collective wisdom on issues of abuse", she said.
Topics included, but were not limited to, cultural perspectives on old age, what elder abuse is and why it occurs, what to do if faced with elder abuse, types of abuse, signs and symptoms, and carer stress.
Ms Howe-Dennison hoped the forums would "play some part in helping break down barriers of reluctance to discuss such issues".
Most abuse of the elderly were inflicted by family members - 80% - and 48% by sons and daughters.
However, an increasing number of grandchildren are becoming perpetrators, she said.
Cases were not limited to physical abuse, with emotional, psychological, and the most common, financial abuse, all occurring.
For those who are being abused, or those who know a victim, Ms Howe-Dennison recommended contacting Age Concern, or in extreme cases, the police.
The Agewise public forums are held every Wednesday from 2pm-3pm at Work and Income's Community Link, corner of Castle and Andrew Sts.
For more information and to enrol, phone Ms Howe-Dennison at Age Concern on (03) 477-1040 (extension 708).


SOURCE:    The Otago Daily


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