Peri, Kathryn; Fanslow, Janet; Hand, Jennifer; Parsons, John
June 2009
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand;Jun2009, Issue 35, p159
Academic Journal
Preventing family violence, including the abuse and neglect of older people, is an important community and social policy issue in New Zealand. Although significant research and intervention activities have been undertaken to reduce family violence in general, less is known about the nature of elder abuse and neglect, and appropriate and effective prevention strategies in a New Zealand context. Drawing on qualitative interviews with older people and their caregivers, as well as service providers and non-governmental organisations that provide support to older people, this article discusses recent research findings related to societal-level risk and protective factors that may affect the incidence of elder abuse and neglect. Some of the factors identified include the need to pay attention to ageism and older people's rights, gender roles, and societal ideas about individuals and families. The findings have implications for policy and practice. Supporting community and societal change that reduces ageism and promotes positive and valued roles for older people will contribute to the wider goal. Practical strategies - such as the provision of information for older people, family and carers - that support the empowerment of older people may also help to minimise the risks of elder abuse and neglect.


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