The BC Government has launched a month-long awareness campaign calling British Columbians to action in taking a stand against elder abuse. West Vancouver-Capilano MLA Ralph Sultan, was joined by Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie, in launching the social-media focused campaign. Mackenzie, who keynoted the final session of the BC Care Providers Association Annual Conference early last week, spoke to the importance of the campaign describing how seniors deserve to feel safe and that starts by raising awareness.[quote name=”Isobel Mackenzie, BC Seniors Advocate” pull=”left”]Seniors deserve to feel appreciated and safe where they live and that starts by raising awareness amongst all generations about the valuable role seniors play in our communities.[/quote]
Using the hashtag #RespectSeniors and the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support handle, @BCCEAS, British Columbians of all ages are encouraged to take a stand and to show their support for seniors by spreading the word about the Seniors Abuse and Information Line, as well as other available resources. See the full media release below, or visit the BC Newsroom.
B.C. launches elder abuse awareness social media campaign
VICTORIA – West Vancouver-Capilano MLA Ralph Sultan, was joined by Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie, Dr. Art Hister and key seniors advocacy representatives to launch a month-long elder abuse awareness social media campaign at the grand re-opening of the West End Seniors’ Network “Kay’s Place” information centre for seniors.
“B.C. seniors helped build this province,” said Sultan, who attended on Health Minister Terry Lake’s behalf. “This month-long awareness campaign is a call to action for all British Columbians to take a stand against elder abuse and work together to ensure seniors feel safe, respected and welcomed to participate in and be active members of their communities.”
Elder abuse often goes unreported and can be difficult to detect. The most common forms of elder abuse are financial, physical, emotional and sexual abuse, and neglect and may be obvious or more discrete. For example, emotional abuse could range from a cashier rolling their eyes or making a humiliating comment to others in line as a senior counts their change or something more obvious, like name calling, yelling or coercion.
“Sadly, many seniors have told me that they have experienced some form of ageism,” said Mackenzie. “Seniors deserve to feel appreciated and safe where they live and that starts by raising awareness amongst all generations about the valuable role seniors play in our communities.”
Using the hashtag #RespectSeniors and the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support handle, @BCCEAS, British Columbians of all ages are encouraged to take a stand and to show their support for seniors by spreading the word about the Seniors Abuse and Information Line, and other available resources, to help ensure every British Columbian knows how to better recognize and respond to elder abuse.
The Seniors Abuse and Information Line is supported by the Ministry of Health and operated by the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support, and provides a safe and confidential place for seniors and those who witness elder abuse to get support and valuable information.
“Far too often seniors suffer from social isolation, which can have significant negative health impacts,” said Dr. Art Hister. “It is important that all seniors feel welcome and are included in their communities.”
“No one government body or organization can solve this problem,” said Martha Jane Lewis, executive director for the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support. “Over the next 20 years, the number of British Columbians over the age of 65 will almost double. There must be a culture change that sees elder abuse as a thing of the past.”
Supported by nearly $1 million, the provincial plan, Together to Reduce Elder Abuse – B.C.’s Strategy, is founded on collaborative actions that work to leverage resources and information sharing. Some of the actions in the plan include expanding the hours of the Seniors Abuse and Information Line, creating and distributing information kits (also available online), establishing a multi-sector Council to Reduce Elder Abuse and supporting training and awareness building initiatives for health professionals and others to improve their ability to recognize abuse and to take appropriate action.
“Elder abuse is everyone’s business,” said Sherry Baker, executive director of the BC Association of Community Response Networks. “We believe in working together and in the importance of sharing information in order to create a co-ordinated community response to older adult abuse, neglect and self-neglect.”
The launch of the social media awareness campaign took place at the grand re-opening of Kay’s Place information centre for seniors operated by the West End Seniors’ Network. Kay’s Place serves as a hub for seniors and their families to go to access valuable information, programs and resources that benefit seniors.
“We are very happy to see the province making these kinds of investments in tackling the issue of elder abuse,” said Susan Moore, manager of Kay’s Place. “We know that abusers target those who are most vulnerable. Shame is just one barrier that victims face to accessing support. The more we can do to educate and facilitate access to support services, the easier it will become for seniors and their supporters to stop abuse from continuing.”
For more information about elder abuse and where to turn to report elder abuse as well as information about the elder abuse awareness social media campaign please visit: www.seniorsbc.ca/elderabuse orhttp://ow.ly/xpzhl to access a factsheet.
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)