Awareness of elder abuse important step in prevention

The physical abuse of a slap, kick or punch is serious, but emotional and financial abuse must not be overlooked

Pauline Hansen

Pauline Hansen

The physical abuse of a slap, kick or punch is serious, but emotional and financial abuse must not be overlooked, and are two of the most common forms of elder abuse.

According to a 1999 General Social Survey by Statistics Canada, elder emotional and financial abuse rate even higher than physical abuse.

Pauline Hansen, elder abuse awareness co-ordinator, was at the Rimbey Farmers’ Market to hand out information regarding the issue.

She said awareness is an important first step.

“It’s a real tough subject, but people need to be aware. You can’t educate people when they have blinders over their eyes.”

Hansen said the Elder Abuse Awareness Program, made possible through federal funding from the New Horizons for Seniors Program, has been set up to increase awareness.

With funding through the New Horizons program and casino funding, The Alberta Council on Aging, a 45-year-old province-wide organization, developed the publications including A Seniors’ Guide to Fraud Prevention, Helping Hands Resource Book, and a multicultural sensitivity guide.

These books were handed out at the farmers’ market and are available at no cost through Rimbey FCSS.

Bev Hanes, treasurer for Central Alberta Council on Aging, said elder abuse affects every part of society and seniors who are being abused need to step forward and seek help so as to stop the cycle.

“The more it’s reported, the more people will be aware of it, and it will make a healthier community, she said.

“Our society’s system of cultural values can only be a healthy system if we value our seniors,” she said. “As a caring community it is everyone’s obligation to become aware of any elder abuse and take steps to prevent or stop the abuse.”

The mission of the Alberta Council on Aging is to empower and educate seniors and government to support a good quality of life for seniors and to encourage their full participation in all aspects of society.

Seniors who are in an emergency abusive situation need to call the RCMP at 911.

They can also call the violence information line at 403-310-1818 or the Elder Abuse Resource and Support for Seniors line at 403-343-6074.

Information is also available at www.hrsdc.gc.ca/seniors.

Information in Helping Hands: A service provider’s resource manual for elder abuse in Alberta, states it is estimated that approximately one in every ten seniors has experienced some form of abuse.