Province looking to prevent elder abuse

By MorinvilleNews.com Staff

Edmonton – The Alberta government announced a new strategy Tuesday that addresses the actions the province and municipalities need to take to help prevent or reduce elder abuse in Alberta.

Addressing Elder Abuse in Alberta: A Strategy for Collective Action is a 32-page document that outlines how the province, municipalities, communities and community partners can work together to address elder abuse in the province and work toward diminishing incidents of it.

The province defines elder abuse as any action or inaction that jeopardizes the health or well-being of a senior; however, financial and emotional abuse is the most common forms elder abuse takes. The government estimates that 25 per cent of crimes against older adults are committed by a family member, usually a spouse or child.

The strategy looks to work on the problem by first raising awareness of elder abuse. The document calls for province-wide, multi-pronged public awareness campaigns to better inform seniors and all Albertans about the issue.

“In our province, up to 10 per cent of seniors experience elder abuse, and this doesn’t include the many cases that go unreported,” said Mary Anne Jablonski, Minister of Seniors and Community Supports in a release Tuesday. “Elder abuse has devastating consequences. It jeopardizes the health, well-being, independence and dignity of seniors. Seniors play a vital role in our province and we need to work together to ensure they are treated with dignity and respect.”

The document suggest Alberta’s service providers and caregivers – as well as non-profit groups – could play a valuable role in identifying elder abuse because such organizations and professionals are often the only contact seniors have with someone outside their family.

The province plans to work with community partners to ensure that education in identifying elder abuse is available to their members.

Jablonski said no single organization can successfully address elder abuse alone because of the complexity of the issue. “It’s a complex issue that will only end through the combined efforts of our communities, our governments and individual citizens,” she said.

The strategy and additional information are available on the Alberta Seniors and Community Supports website at www.seniors.alberta.ca/services_resources/elderabuse/

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