Relationships

Worrying about an elderly neighbour

Dear Wendyl, What should you do if you think there is a case of elder abuse going on? I suspect that the little old lady next door is being assaulted by her son...

Dear Wendyl,

What should you do if you think there is a case of elder abuse going on? I suspect that the little old lady next door is being assaulted by her son – who is always short of money. A few times when he’s come over, I’ve heard shouting and whimpering coming from the house, and I swear she had a black eye a few weeks ago. Do I try and talk to her or simply call the police next time he’s there if it seems to be going badly? I know she’d be so embarrassed but she’s a nice old thing, and she doesn’t deserve this.

Worried Neighbour, by email

Dear Worried Neighbour,

Of course you should try to do something. I would start by attempting to talk to her in a way that isn’t critical of her son, because that will just set up defence systems. Talk to her about what you’ve noticed and ask her if there’s anything you can do to help and support her. Then contact Age Concern – they have different agencies all over the country, so go to ageconcern.org.nz to fi nd theright number for you. They will give you and your neighbour advice on how to deal with this.

Send your questions to [email protected] or write to Agony Aunt, NZWW, PO Box 90119, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142.

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