It takes community to support our vulnerable seniors

Letter to the Editor, submitted by Darryl Plecas, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors, regarding elder abuse.

  • Aug. 8, 2015 5:00 a.m.

Submitted by Darryl PlecasParliamentary Secretary for Seniors

Seniors are an important part of our communities. They are our parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, mentors, neighbours and friends.

We want them to enjoy the fullest life possible in B.C. and that includes making sure they feel safe.

Sometimes, as they age, seniors become targets of abuse. Estimates show between four per cent and 10 per cent of seniors will experience some form of physical, emotional, financial or sexual abuse, or neglect.

Elder abuse can be very difficult to detect. Seniors are often reluctant to report abuse by family members. Consequently, it is significantly under-reported. The work that the Office of the Seniors Advocate is doing with regard to how these cases are reported is an important step in the continued efforts to end this unfortunate reality. While elder abuse may be hard to detect, it is always unacceptable.

Each and every one of us has a role to play in ending elder abuse. The societal and attitudinal shift to support and respect seniors’ dignity and Independence will come from within our communities.

We all need a helping hand once in a while, and as a government we recognize that it takes a community to support vulnerable seniors. This community is as much the community they live in as the community of experts that will help build strategies and plans to end elder abuse. In 2013, we brought together one such community of experts to form a provincial, multi-sector council to reduce elder abuse.

The council includes experts from the financial, health care, public safety and community outreach sectors, as well as a variety of communities and, most importantly, seniors themselves. The council’s work is guided by the provincial plan “Together to Reduce Elder Abuse – B.C.’s Strategy”.

While it may be a challenging topic to discuss, raising awareness is the first step. In 2014, we launched a social media campaign to encourage B.C. to come together as a proactive, aware and concerned community for the well-being of seniors. I encourage you to join us. Share your thoughts and experiences to help bring this issue to the forefront using the hashtag, #RespectSeniors

Helping seniors stay where they feel most at home, in our communities, is also key to their independence. This is why community-based support is so important. In June, we gave the B.C. Association of Community Response Networks $2.6 million to expand its operations to more communities. We also invested in community-based awareness building, training and improved elder-abuse response programs through funding, totalling $700,000 over two years to support council to reduce elder abuse priorities.

A large part of our government’s direction in creating a more sustainable health care system is centred around our growing seniors’ population, many of whom helped build this province. Seniors want to be able to live independently for as long as possible. We are working to support that goal with our “Setting Priorities for the B.C. Health System” document that is guiding our path forward in all areas of the health system, including home and community care.

When seniors are supported and active, our communities thrive. Together, we can create supportive and inclusive communities free of elder abuse by keeping the conversation going and lending a helping hand. When we do our part to support our parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, mentors, neighbours and friends, we get so much more in return.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

(File Photo)
Sparwood accepting submissions for 2021 Street Art Banner Program

Artwork depicting a love for Sparwood’s community and heritage will be accepted until Feb. 19

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

(File photo)
Interior Health declares COVID-19 outbreak at Teck’s Elk Valley operations over

48 cases were linked to three Teck locations in the Elk Valley

Joanna and Aysha Haines opened their business, Drift and Sonder, on Jan. 22. (Soranne Floarea)
New businesses popping up in Fernie despite pandemic headwinds

More businesses in Fernie have opened than closed their doors since the pandemic began

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Most Read