Aged abused, neglected by families – study

The Press 15 June 2007
Some elderly people are facing poverty, depression, starvation and health breakdowns because their own families are intentionally neglecting them, a new study shows. Age Concern New Zealand released findings from a new study of elder neglect cases between 2002 and 2006 yesterday to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day today. Cases included older people getting only one meal a week, having power cut off when carers did not pay the bills, and being too afraid of their carers to ask for assistance. The study found between 3 per cent and 10 per cent of older people experienced some form of neglect – often occurring with physical, emotional and financial abuse – and most often by family members.Age Concern spokeswoman Jayne McKendry said health was most likely to be neglected. Over half of neglected older people had unmet health needs from issues such as carers not taking them to the doctor because it was too much hassle, or not filling their prescriptions because it was too expensive. The study found 47 per cent of neglected older people had inadequate food.