On August 28th, Wesley Elder Care began responding to elder abuse in the Wellington region. Wesley Elder Care is the latest service being offered by Wesley Community Action which has been caring for vulnerable and isolated older people throughout Wellington since 1954. In preparation for managing elder abuse response, Wesley Elder Care recruited 4 new team members to work in two new offices.
Claire Booth, Elder Care Manager at Wesley Community Action is not surprised by the high numbers of referrals. “Since we began on August 28th, we’ve had 35 new referrals and 22 more enquiries we have provided information, supported or referred on for legal or other assistance. We have successfully resolved 8 cases following intervention”. This prevalence is most concerning; however, we’re not surprised. The estimated prevalence of elder abuse in NZ is 10% of all people over 65.
With elder abuse being such a serious and growing social issue, Ms Booth believes growing awareness and activating the community is key to better response to elder abuse. “Unfortunately some elder people and their whanau don’t recognise the issues they are experiencing are forms of abuse. Vital to an improved response to elder abuse, is encouraging everyone in the community to keep an eye out for vulnerable elders. We’re delighted that Wellington Age Concern is continuing with its important elder abuse and neglect prevention education programme so we can work together to make older people safe.”
For concerns about an older person experiencing abuse, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on (04) 805 0880. For urgent out of hours help, call the national helpline on 0800 EA NOT OK (0800 3266 865).
The Wesley Elder Care service is upholding Wesley’s commitment to innovative ways of working alongside people in the community. “We’ve created a website with all the most pertinent information for both older people, their whanau and carers, as well as brochures and a stand-alone elder-focused leaflet. We’ve attended the National forum about the prevalence of financial abuse for Seniors and are working in this national forum to improve financial safety and access to redress for elders who are financially abused.”
Wesley Elder Care is involved in a new steering group with Hutt Valley DHB, the Hutt City Council, Alzheimers Wellington and other NGOs who support people living with dementia. Tracey Scott, the coordinator for the new activities programme at Wesley Village says, “We are excited to be starting a new and innovative activity programme for people over 65 including people with early dementia. By collaborating with the Hutt Valley Time Bank, people in the group will be giving to their community as well as receiving support from the Time Bank community.”
For expressions of interest in this programme please email: email@example.com or phone (04) 385 3727.