Alberta Launches Safe Spaces Program to Combat Elder Abuse in Rural and Indigenous Communities

by Staff

In what it says is a bid to provide a haven for seniors escaping elder abuse in rural and Indigenous communities, Alberta’s government is rolling out a program that the government says demonstrates its commitment to the safety and well-being of its aging population. With nearly one in 10 Alberta seniors facing the grim reality of elder abuse, the government is investing an additional $3.3 million over the next three years to establish safe spaces and bolster support systems.

“Elder abuse is a deeply concerning issue that affects countless seniors in our province,” remarked Jason Nixon, Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services. “Nearly one in 10 Alberta seniors may be subjected to elder abuse, and this is an unacceptable reality we are determined to change. The new Safe Spaces program will ensure seniors have a safe place to go if needed.”

The Safe Spaces initiative is a collaborative effort between the government and local organizations, emphasizing seniors’ lodges in rural Alberta and Indigenous communities. Over $2 million will be injected into this crucial program to provide immediate refuge for seniors fleeing abusive situations.

A significant portion of the funding, exceeding $1 million over three years, is dedicated to the Sage Seniors Safe House, an organization playing a pivotal role in Edmonton and its surrounding areas. This financial boost will enable the Safe House program to expand its capacity and provide enhanced care for older adults seeking shelter.

Karen McDonald, Executive Director of Sage Seniors Association, acknowledged the importance of collaboration, stating, “Increased access to shelter and safe spaces for older adults experiencing elder abuse is a critical step towards ensuring that all Albertans can live free from abuse.”

The Alberta government, in partnership with the Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Council, is extending funding opportunities to eligible communities. A call for proposals is slated to commence in January 2024, encouraging community involvement in addressing this pressing issue.

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