On June 15, Nelson and District Credit Union, local seniors organizations and the BC Council to Reduce Elder Abuse are all recognizing the United Nations international day, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, to acknowledge the world-wide effort to reduce elder abuse.
The credit union is urging members to connect with their older family members, friends and neighbours in recognition of this day. By joining communities around the world in marking the event’s 10th anniversary, we can all help increase the visibility of this serious issue.
“Elder abuse is a violation of rights,” says Barb MacLean, Council to Reduce Elder Abuse chair. “It covers a spectrum of actions such as physical, financial and emotional abuse, abandonment and social exclusion. It includes misuse of medication and infringement on an older adult’s choices and decisions,” she explains.
The credit union is encouraging you to wear purple to help raise awareness and start the conversation about elder abuse. Purple is a visible reminder to connect with someone older, who may be suffering in silence.
We all have a role to play in preventing elder abuse. The credit union feels it can play a key role in helping to identify elder financial abuse; defined as, the illegal or unauthorized use of someone else’s financial resources.
On Monday in Nelson and Rossland and Tuesday on the East Shore, each community branch will hosting a resource fair on elder abuse. On the same day, members are also encouraged to stop by their branch and drop off any personal documents for secure shredding for a minimum donation that will go towards a local seniors service organization.
Elder abuse can happen to anyone — in any culture, situation or circumstance. Many seniors who experience abuse fear that they will not be believed if they ask for help as they often know the person that is abusing them.
Victims of abuse are often too ashamed, embarrassed or dependent upon the person mistreating them, to tell anyone that they are being abused.
Yvonne Shewfelt, of the Nelson and Area Elder Abuse Prevention Program explains, “Silence enables abuse to continue. Sometimes it takes just one person who becomes aware of a situation to follow their gut feeling; to step up, reach out, and help stop the cycle.”
Shewfelt adds, “Much work has been done to build a local network to enable victims of abuse to break their silence. This network includes contacts at 17 faith communities, 10 financial institutions, seven senior citizen association branches, 38 community participants and organizations and six law enforcement or victim services contacts. This is one “multicommunity” network committed to prevent and respond to elder abuse and neglect.”
Join the millions of caring individuals around the world in recognizing June 15 as the 10th anniversary of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Together we can create safer, age-friendly communities.
Contact the Nelson and Area Elder Abuse Prevention Program Resource Centre at 250-352-6008 (Nelson and District Seniors Coordinating Society) or visit the website at nelsonelderabuse.org.
If you or someone you know is being abused, and if you want more information, or legal advice, call the
Seniors Abuse and Information Line, operated through the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support can be reached at: 1-866-437-1940 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, excluding statutory holidays. TTY and translation services are available.