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June 4, 2012

Sculpture to Highlight Plight of Older People (NEW ZEALAND)

By DUBBY HENRY

Child abuse gets a lot of attention. But neglect or abuse of seniors often goes under the radar.
To raise awareness of the issue, Age Concern Counties Manukau is creating a sculpture and seating area in its garden for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15.
Age Concern elder abuse educator Angela Patchett says the plight of older people in the community is often unrecognised.

Elder abuse is any violation of the rights of elderly people. They may be physically harmed by the abuse but it can take more subtle forms as well, she says.
Those in a position of trust such as family members could misuse or take control of the person's money, not give them a say in their own life or not tend adequately to the person's basic needs.
The Manukau Beautification Trust is building the sculpture and seating and an Age Concern focus group is working on the mosaics to decorate the seating area.
Words like zest, wisdom, spirit and care will be picked out in mosaic panels to highlight the positive contributions older people make.
Mangere resident David Fox has been helping the focus group craft the mosaics.
The 82-year-old says when he started the project he had "no idea" what he was doing "but you can always learn".
Mr Fox got involved with Age Concern with encouragement from his wife, who died five years ago.
As part of his volunteer work he's visited many resthomes and units and come across many cases of elder neglect.
Often it's a case of "families that don't take enough interest" in their older members, he says.
"You do come in contact with people who don't know which way to go and need help."
Sometimes it's as simple as family not taking the time to explain technology, like the upcoming digital TV switchover. Such things might seem small to family but if not understood can cause unnecessary worry.
Ms Patchett says people will be welcome to wander into Age Concern's to have a look at the sculpture at Cambria Park Homestead, 250 Puhinui Rd, Papatoetoe after the invitation-only June 15 launch.


© Fairfax NZ News

 SOURCE:     The Stuff.co.nz
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