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Edmonton Takes a Stand Against Elder Abuse

June 15, 2011

Abuse and neglect of older persons is often underreported and hidden from view.  In support of the United Nations International Plan of Action recognizing elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue, Councillor Linda Sloan officially proclaimed Wednesday, June 15 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

“All citizens deserve a life free of abuse and neglect regardless of their race, gender or age,” said Councillor Linda Sloan. “With Edmonton’s senior population on the rise, it is becoming increasingly important to promote respect and to protect our seniors.”
Elder abuse can include physical, emotional, financial, sexual or medication abuse. If a senior’s living situation changes, they appear to be in distress or they talk about difficulties which seem to indicate abuse, people should encourage them to get help.

 “Up to 10 per cent of seniors in Alberta are impacted by elder abuse and this is unacceptable,” said Mary Anne Jablonski, Minister of Seniors and Community Supports. “Elder abuse needs to stop, and I believe the first step towards this goal is awareness. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an important opportunity for our cities, towns and provinces to work together to increase understanding of this critical issue.”

This year’s theme coincides with that of the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse: My World, Your World, Our World – Free of Elder Abuse. The supporting theme deals with financial abuse and recognizes that businesses can play a role in preventing elder abuse.

Earlier this year, ATB Financial established a training program to help their staff detect signs of financial abuse and assist the victims. The program was developed in collaboration with the Elder Abuse Intervention Team.

“There is no industry-wide curriculum or set of standards for elder abuse training in Canada,” said Karen Comeau, Vice President of Sales and Operations with ATB Financial. “We decided the time was right to join law enforcement and social agency partners in developing a training program for our people. It’s important for our associates, and it’s important for our customers.”

Individuals affected by elder abuse or those concerned for the safety of a senior citizen can call the Seniors’ Abuse Helpline 24 hours a day at 780-454-8888. Callers may be referred to the Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton Safe House or to the Elder Abuse Intervention Team consisting of staff from the City of Edmonton, Catholic Social Services, the Victorian Order of Nurses and Edmonton Police Service. The City also provides free cell phones to victims of family violence and elder abuse through the Safe Connection program.


For more information:

Pat Power

Title Social Worker, Community Services