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We need to talk openly about elder abuse

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Day
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June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day as declared by the United Nations. Photo: Steve Buissinne/ Pixabay

Nelson & Area Elder Abuse Prevention Program

There was a time we never talked about cancer. We never talked about dementia. Information and increased public awareness is helping to remove the anxiety and shame we used to feel about these disorders. It is time to talk openly about elder abuse too.

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day as declared by the United Nations.

Abuse is the misuse of power and a violation of trust. Abuse of older adults refers to violence, mistreatment or neglect that an older adult may experience. It occurs in private residences or in institutions and most often at the hands of the elder’s spouse, children, other family members, friends, caregivers or service providers. It may be intentional or unintentional. It may happen only once but most often abuse is repeated and escalates. Abuse takes different forms and changes over time (e.g., emotional, psychological, verbal, financial, physical or sexual). Fraud and scams by phone and internet are increasingly common.

The Nelson Elder Abuse Prevention Program (250-352-6008, www.nelsonelderabuseprevention.ca) is available to discuss concerning situations, provide education on abuse prevention and, in cooperation with CARES, provide advance planning education to help seniors reduce the risk of mistreatment or abuse.

Other sources of excellent information are:

• Community Response Network (CRN) www.bccrns.ca

• Seniors First BC www.seniorsfirstbc.ca

• Interior Health Confidential toll-free abuse reporting line 1-800-870-4754

• BC Seniors Abuse Information Line (SAIL) 1-866-437-1940.

• If it is an urgent threat, call 911

The NEAPP and CRN are hosting an information table at the Nelson Credit Union from 11 a.m until 3 p.m. on Thursday June 15 and 23.