A special day is approaching that will put elder abuse and neglect into the spotlight.
June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day but the Sparwood Community Response Network (CRN) is urging the public to be aware of elder abuse as often as it happens; every day.
According to the Ministry of Health, as many as 10 per cent of B.C. seniors will experience some form of abuse in their later years. One in 12 seniors will also experience financial abuse caused by close family members or trusted friends.
The Sparwood CRN explained that elder abuse often goes underreported but they hope to change this.
“The Sparwood CRN plans to highlight the need for prevention activities that allow seniors in the community to live in safety and dignity,” said BC Association of Community Response Networks (BCCRNs) mentor for the East Kootenay region, Doug Newberry.
“The Sparwood CRN plans to honour and celebrate those who remain active, and vibrant members of our community.”
Various professionals have come together to form a response network that is equipped to provide workshops and resources to the community of Sparwood to build awareness of abuse, neglect and self-neglect.
The program aims to help community workers recognize the signs of abuse and identify where the right resources can be found in the community.
“We all have a role to play in creating safe, supportive communities that we all want to live and grow old in,” stressed BCCRNs executive director, Sherry Baker.
The Sparwood CRN, as a part of BCCRNs, is dedicated to working with community, agencies and governments to develop a coordinated response to cases of abuse, and neglect of vulnerable adults.
Baker recalled a story shared by a woman at a recent CRN workshop. It was from a perceptive of a barista who, over the course of several weeks, noticed that the appearance of a regular elderly customer was changing.
“She was becoming unkempt, appeared cold, dirty and hungry,” explained Baker.
“Staff decided to approach her to see if there was something they could help with. She confided in them that her son had taken over her house and she was now living in the basement without proper cooking or bathing facilities. Because the coffee shop staff had learned what to do from a CRN workshop, they were able to get her the help she needed.”
To contact with the Sparwood CRN, email coordinators Lois Halko at email@example.com or Rosa Rocca at firstname.lastname@example.org
Further details about the resources and tools offered by the BCCRNs is available on their website, Bccrns.ca.