Seniors Outreach - November 8, 2017

November is Family Violence Prevention Month in Alberta and our Seniors Outreach Elder Abuse Grant Project is focusing on the sensitive topic of Elder Abuse. I was fortunate enough this past week to attend the “It’s Not Right”, Neighbours, Friends and Families for Older Adults training in Cochrane. I am now trained to facilitate presentations for this valuable program and will be offering sessions to service providers in 2018.

Elder abuse can take several forms, often with more than one type of abuse occurring at the same time for individuals. National and provincial statistics indicate that the two most identified and reported types of elder abuse are financial and psychological. Any senior can become a victim of elder abuse regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, income or education. Approximately 25% of crimes against older adults are committed by family members, usually by a spouse or adult child. It is estimated that over 8% of older adults in Canada will experience elder abuse. Many cases of elder abuse go unreported.

In 2010, the Government of Alberta released Addressing Elder Abuse in Alberta: A Strategy for Collective Action. The strategy’s vision is for a province where seniors are free from abuse and neglect; and it outlines that preventing and addressing elder abuse is a shared responsibility that requires engagement on the part of all sectors of society. It recognizes that communities are in position to identify their needs and challenges related to elder abuse. Seniors Outreach is proud to advocate the “Taking Action Against Elder Abuse CCR Grant Program” in conjunction with the Province of Alberta.

Our local Kneehill Committee is always evolving and changing, due to change in agency personnel, securing new members to come to the table and the availability of individual’s schedules. We are always interested in adding new members to our group who are invested and engaged in the lives of our senior population. Our group has formed this vision statement for our committee, “working collaboratively to identify, reduce and prevent elder abuse in Kneehill County, ensuring our older adults are safe and living with dignity.”

Elder abuse happens. Even in rural communities. If you are being abused and you are in immediate danger, CALL 9-1-1. Confide in someone you trust. Talk to someone about what is happening, such as a friend or family member, public health nurse, home care worker, someone at your place of worship or your doctor. DON’T BLAME YOURSELF! Know that it is not your fault and help is available. Please ask for help because you DO NOT deserve to be abused. Many people in our community want to help protect the rights of seniors, ensure dignity and keep our older adults safe.

If you would like more information on elder abuse or where to find help, please call Seniors Outreach at 403-443-2555. You are not alone.

For more information on our Elder Abuse Grant Project, contact myself, Laura Lee Machell-Cunningham at Seniors Outreach.