Workshops shed light on elder abuse

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and the Community Response Network has put together a series of workshops in Victoria

For most of us, the golden years are a time to relax and spend time with family and loved ones. Unfortunately, abuse has become an all-too-regular occurrence for many Canadian seniors.

“There’s a lot of studies that show that elder abuse is a huge problem in Canada, however, so many people are not aware about what it means,” said Victoria Community Response Network co-ordinator Lycia Rodrigues. “If they see elder abuse, they have no idea what to do about it and what resources are available.”

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and the Community Response Network has put together a series of workshops to get the word out here in Victoria.

“The workshop is called It’s Not Right. It’s about letting people know what elder abuse is and how to identify elder abuse in the community,” said Rodrigues.

She said the victim could be a friend, neighbour or family member, and the workshop will talk about ways to respond that will help the victim of abuse.

Rodrigues says there are five types of elder abuse, with financial abuse being the most common in Canada. The other types are physical abuse, spiritual abuse, emotional abuse and negligence.

Some signs that elder abuse or neglect may be occurring include sudden changes in wills or unusual bank withdrawals; a person who appears to be frightened of certain family members, friends or caregivers; a person with frequent or unexplained injuries;  a person rarely seen in the neighbourhood; or a person with signs of declining health, grooming or physical appearance.

Saanich residents can learn more about the forms of abuse at a free workshop on June 15 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. The workshop will be at the Yakimovich Wellness Centre in the Hillside Seniors Health Centre at 1454 Hillside Ave. Those interested in attending the workshop must register in advance by calling 250-370-5641 ext. 2.

Rodriques said the workshop will focus on how to have a conversation about suspected abuse, and respond safely and supportively.

“There will also be information about local community resources, where to go if they see abuse and the agencies that are helping people who are experiencing abuse.”