Each year, thousands of seniors face abuse in Canada, much of which goes unreported. To shine a light on this increasingly important issue, June 15 has been designated as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
“The key to stopping elder abuse is awareness. We must tackle this issue head on through education, awareness and most importantly with compassion,” said Danny Birch, managing partner of Nurse Next Door Abbotsford. “As many as 10 per cent of seniors in Canada experience some form of abuse – that’s simply too much.”
Abuse often conjures up images of bruised and battered individuals, but elder abuse can take many different forms. The general categories of abuse include psychological, physical, sexual, and financial abuse.
Five tips for detecting and preventing elder abuse of a loved one: prevent social isolation of seniors; make sure caregivers have been thoroughly screened; increase financial transparency to catch fraud quickly; identify the cause of sudden changes in appearance; and be wary of changes in behaviour and new relationships.
Estimates indicate that as many as one in 10 older adults experience some type of abuse each year. With nearly five million seniors in Canada, up to 500,000 seniors will fall victim to elder abuse in 2015. As the senior population continues to grow rapidly, this issue will only become more pressing unless a concerted effort is made to stop elder abuse from happening, Birch said.
If you suspect a senior is being abused, have a conversation with them and contact VictimLink BC for additional support at 1-800-563-0808.