Funding shortfall for NZ's elder abuse sector putting people at risk

Stuff 6 November 2016
Family First Comment: “This meant some people are being left in potentially abusive and unsafe environments, she said.”
Imagine how much worse it would get if we had assisted suicide laws….
A serious shortfall in funding to address elder abuse in New Zealand needs to be fixed immediately, says the boss of Age Concern.
Stephanie Clare, Age Concern chief executive, said services across the country are either under funded or non-existent, which is putting older people at risk.
“There are large areas of New Zealand where people do not have access to an elder abuse prevention service,” she said.
This meant some people are being left in potentially abusive and unsafe environments, she said.
Clare’s call comes in the wake of a horrific case of elder neglect, which resulted in a Taranaki couple being jailed for two years and nine months when they were sentenced last month.
Terrence and Erica Heppell pleaded guilty to the ill-treatment of their mother who was found by ambulance staff lying in her own waste, with several untreated sores on her body and a dislocated shoulder.  She was also extremely unkempt, with dirty skin, nails and clothing.
Authorities were only alerted to the woman’s plight after the Heppells finally called for help, thinking she was on the brink of death.
Minister for Senior Citizens Maggie Barry said the Government contracted 27 services around New Zealand to provide specialist elder abuse and neglect services, to the tune of about $1.9 million a year.
Barry said the services dealt with about 2000 cases of elder abuse each year.


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