Seniors Outreach - June 15, 2016

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is today, June 15th across the globe. WEAAD is held every year on June 15th to bring greater recognition to the mistreatment of older adults and highlight the need for action.

In 2015, it was reported that Alberta is home to approximately 500,000 people over the age of 65. This is one of the fastest growing population groups in Canada. It is estimated that Alberta’s senior population will be almost one million by 2032.

What is elder abuse? It is the action or inaction by self or others that jeopardizes the health or well-being of any senior. Elder abuse can be in various forms such as financial, emotional, physical, sexual or neglect and often more than one type of abuse occurs at the same time. Financial and emotional abuse are the two most frequently reported types of abuse in Canada.

Regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, income or education, any senior can become a victim of elder abuse. Many cases of elder abuse in Canada and throughout the world, go unreported. Studies indicate that between 4%-8% of older adults in Canada are likely to experience abuse. At times a seniors will not have the capacity to report abuse or may feel shame or guilt that prevents them from seeking help.

The signs of elder abuse are complex which is common in all forms of abuse. Signs can include confusion, depression or anxiety, unexplained injuries, changes in hygiene, fearful around certain people and fear or worry when discussing money. Risk factors include a history of spousal abuse, family dynamics, isolation, ageism and lack of knowledge about the aging process.

Who should you call if you are being abuse or you suspect a senior is being abused? Call 9-1-1 if you suspect immediate danger for the senior. Information, advice and referral information is available at 310-1818-family violence information line.

Call the Safeguards for Vulnerable Adults Information and Reporting Line at 1-888-357-9339 (toll-free) to report the abuse of an adult receiving publicly funded care or support services. Please call our Seniors Outreach office at 403-443-2555 for more information.