Age Concern, BewareCare New Zealand dispute erupts into the public domain, over protection of elderly from Caregiver financial grooming and abuse.
A growing dispute regarding the effectiveness of advocacy for elderly who are financially abused by their state-funded and private caregivers has erupted into the public domain, with Age Concern scrambling to protect their community advocacy brand against an opinion piece recently published by BewareCare NZ.
The original BewareCare NZ article is here:
In response, the CEO of Age Concern, Kevin Lamb, took pains to refute the claims by BewareCare New Zealand:
Stephen Taylor, Convenor of BewareCare NZ, is both bemused and satisfied by the response of Age Concern.
“In their public reply to BewareCare NZ, it seems to me that the CEO of Age Concern, Kevin Lamb, is confirming the central premises of our original article, these premises being that Age Concern receives state funding; they receive complaints; and they have absolutely no power to enforce, sanction, or hold those people who commit financial grooming and abuse in any way accountable for their actions against a very vulnerable population” says Mr Taylor.
Rather than trying to minimise their brand damage against what are legitimate concerns being raised by BewareCare NZ, it would make more sense for Age Concern to support BewareCare NZ in the petition we are preparing to the incoming Government regarding the steps needed to minimise the possibility of financial abuse against the elderly.
BewareCare NZ exists:
1/ To publicly expose the rampant “open season” upon the vulnerable elderly who are being financially groomed and abused by Caregivers in New Zealand;
2/ To lobby Government to create meaningful protective factors for this vulnerable population who are being financially groomed and abused by Caregivers;
3/ To encourage the NZ legal system to enforce meaningful sanctions against Caregivers who commit acts of such financial grooming and abuse against this vulnerable population.
The original article was here.
Age Concern Auckland CEO Kevin Lambs response is below:
Elder Abuse something we all must fight
It was disappointing to read in the recent opinion article from Stephen Taylor that he thinks Age Concern is a state funded echo chamber that does not take complaints of elder abuse seriously.
As the CEO of Age Concern Auckland I know this is simply not the case and that his comments are far from reality. Firstly, and very briefly, to say we are a state funded organisation is simply not correct. Age Concern receives only partial funding from the government, (so, you are state funded – ed) however, to deliver the services and essential support we provide we rely on the generosity of the community.
Secondly, and far more importantly, we investigate all elder abuse complaints we receive. (No you don’t. I have evidence that you don’t. What you do is offer simpering faux-empathy, and then admit that your organisation has no powers to meaningfully investigate complaints, or effect any sanctions – you are just a complaints echo chamber-ed). In the last 12 months our dedicated team of specialist Elder Abuse Response Workers supported 617 older people across Auckland to address the abuse they were experiencing. We worked closely with a plethora of organisations including New Zealand Police, banks, lawyers, doctors and many others during this process. All of us working for the same goal of stopping the abuse and protecting the older person involved.
Unfortunately, the reality is that Elder abuse is a complex and frequently hidden problem, that occurs far too often. An analysis of data from the New Zealand Longitudinal Study of Ageing concluded that 10% of the population aged over 65 years who are living in the community experience abuse. However, it is estimated that only 1 in 14 of all abuse incidents come to the attention of a service agency, like Age Concern, that can intervene to help stop the abuse. (Age Concern has no powers of intervention, which is why 75% of people with a complaint don’t contact you – they already know that Age Concern has no ability whatsoever to help them – ed).This is for a variety of reasons but not least because in 4 out of 5 cases of Elder Abuse the offender is a family member of the victim.
I wholeheartedly agree that more has to be done to protect older members of our community from elder abuse and we need to stop it. How do we do that? A first step, is if you see abuse, speak out against it.
Elder Abuse can be a very sensitive and distressing matter to speak openly about, but I encourage everyone in the community to be aware of the risk factors and speak out if they are experiencing abuse or are concerned that someone they know is. Age Concern will listen to your concerns, and we will look at what can be done to assist (This admission confirms my original premise -you have no agency powers whatsoever – ed). We must work together to protect the older members of our community.
We are appreciative of Stephen raising this important issue. (No you’re not – you’re embarrassed that I have raised the issue, and you are now scrambling to protect your service brand in the public space -ed). It is a matter that needs and deserves a far higher level of public dialogue. Age Concern Auckland actively works to support all those who need our help and we are thankful to the community for their support in assisting us to do this.
If you have any concerns about Elder Abuse you can speak confidentially to Age Concern Auckland by calling us on 09 820 0184.
CEO Age Concern Auckland
Fundraising & Communications Manager
Age Concern Auckland Incorporated
PO Box 19542, Avondale, Auckland 1026
57 Rosebank Road, Avondale
Mob: 021 120 5989 Fax: +64 9 8281660
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NB: BewareCare NZ has a number of other elderly consumer care stories on file, and the agencies in each one will be similarly publicized.