Seniors’ Week was a fun celebration of older adults in Alberta. Thanks and congratulations to everyone who made it possible!
All of the activities were enjoyable, and I know many of us old folks were happy to be honoured for a week.
And now all those agencies and organizations that worked so hard to provide some fun last week must get back to their day-to-day hard work of helping, protecting, and providing for seniors in our communities.
Elder abuse didn’t go away for the week—it remains a sad reality in the lives of people throughout the community.
Wednesday, June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Elder abuse is any action or inaction that threatens the health or wellbeing of an older adult, according to the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. Some people call it senior abuse or abuse of older adults.
It takes many forms. Older people can suffer physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, financial abuse, or neglect. Their rights and freedoms can be withheld or violated, and they may suffer from systemic or institutional abuse.
The abuser might be a spouse or other intimate partner. It can be a child or grandchild. It can be a care institution or a member of its staff. And of course it can be complete stranger.
Often an abuser will exploit an older person’s physical frailty or a cognitive impairment. They can also take advantage of a senior’s kindness. And of course they might carry out their abuse through physical force.
If you are being abused, or if you suspect someone else is, call your local FCSS or other trusted social services agency. Call 911 if there is a risk of immediate danger. You can also protect yourself and others by learning more about elder abuse.
The games and parties and hot dogs and ice cream last week were fun. Seniors deserve to be celebrated. We also deserve to feel safe and respected every day.
Help end elder abuse.