OP-ED A special day to support elder abuse awareness

June 12, 2012

 The 7th annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) will take place on June 15, 2012. WEAAD was an idea that originated in Canada, and we are happy that it is now officially recognized by the United Nations. This special day will be an opportunity for all Canadians to reflect on how elder abuse threatens the well-being of seniors across Canada and around the world.

 Did you know that between 4 and 10 percent of Canadian seniors experience some kind of abuse? And did you know that more than 9 out of 10 Canadians consider raising awareness of elder abuse as a high priority?

 Abuse is a serious issue that impacts people of all ages, including older adults. Elder abuse is prevalent in communities across Canada and affects seniors from all walks of life. It takes many forms, including financial, physical and psychological abuse and neglect.

 One in five Canadians believes they know of a senior who might be experiencing some form of abuse. One of the biggest challenges in combatting elder abuse is actually detecting it in the first place. Sadly, instances of abuse are often hidden. Detection, prevention and raising awareness are key measures that must be taken to help win the fight against elder abuse.

 In addition to awareness campaigns and new legislation to protect seniors, the Government of Canada, through the New Horizons for Seniors Program, provides funding to organizations across Canada for projects that address elder abuse.

 For more information and resources on elder abuse, visit www.seniors.gc.ca where you can link to Elder Abuse – It’s Time to Face the Reality. You can also learn more about steps to combat financial abuse. To order publications on elder abuse and financial abuse, call 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232).

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