World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is coming up on June 15, and the Victoria Community Response Network is urging the community to assist its vulnerable adults by marking the occasion.
The Victoria CRN is part of the BC Association of Community Response Networks, whose mandate is to work with community, agencies, and government to develop a coordinated response to cases of abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults.
Elder abuse often goes under reported, despite the ministry of health reporting as many as 10 per cent of B.C. seniors will experience some form of abuse in their later years, according to a news release.
One in 12 seniors will experience financial abuse caused by close family members or trusted friends. In Greater Victoria, the BC CRN is represented by four community response networks – Victoria, Saanich Peninsula, West Shore and southern Gulf Islands. They provide workshops to the community to build awareness of abuse and neglect, help community workers recognize the signs of abuse, and identify those who can take action.
Provincial and local municipal proclamations are expected, publicly acknowledging support for advocacy around the value of seniors in our communities, and the legislature is set to be lit up in purple on June 15 to draw attention to the day’s significance.
The West Shore CRN will launch a project to interview and publish stories shared by seniors on their lifelong accomplishments, while the Victoria and Saanich Peninsula CRNs will be delivering presentations and serving afternoon tea and luncheons to seniors at organizations throughout Greater Victoria, on topics ranging from staying safe from financial abuse and bullying to keeping healthy with laughter yoga.
“We all have a role to play in creating safe, supportive communities that we all want to live and grow old in,” said Sherry Baker, executive director of the BC Association of Community Response Networks. “During a recent CRN workshop for seniors, a woman found her voice and told her story.
“Shirley goes to a local coffee outlet every day. Over a couple of weeks, coffee shop staff noticed Shirley’s appearance was changing. She was becoming unkempt, appeared cold, dirty, and hungry. Staff decided to approach her to see if there was something they could help with. She confided in them that her son had taken over her house and she was now living in the basement without proper cooking or bathing facilities. Because the coffee shop staff had learned what to do from a CRN workshop, they were able to get her the help she needed.”
While the CRNs do not directly offer individual case management services, they do support a coordinated approach to help vulnerable adults get the support and assistance they need. A CRN provides information and support so the community can both prevent and respond effectively to abuse and neglect. Visit bccrns.ca for more information.
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