VICTORIA - June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and for the seventh year, B.C. joins jurisdictions around the world in raising awareness of the abuse of older adults. B.C. also continues work on developing strategies that support and protect seniors.
British Columbians are encouraged to wear purple today to show their support for the elimination of abuse of older adults.
Elder abuse refers to mistreatment or neglect of an older person by a caregiver, family member, spouse, friend or other individual. While elder abuse may be physical in nature, it can take many forms including emotional, financial or sexual abuse of a senior. Abuse can occur anywhere, at any time and can happen whether a senior lives alone, with family members or in a residential care facility or other institution.
In February 2012, B.C. released a comprehensive seniors' action plan, which committed to developing strategies and measures to provide seniors with protections from abuse and neglect.
Specific actions that are helping to protect the safety and well-being of B.C. seniors include:
- Elder abuse prevention consultations have taken place with government ministries, seniors, caregivers and families to identify existing strengths and challenges, as well as actions to enhance the security and well-being of seniors in the system. Feedback will be used to inform the development of a provincial elder abuse prevention, identification and response plan by December 2012.
- In March 2012, the Province provided $1.4 million to the BC Association of Community Response Networks to further support and expand their prevention and education activities to reduce elder abuse and neglect in B.C.
- The launch in June 2012 of a toll-free phone line specifically for seniors. The line ensures the timely response and resolution of concerns and complaints about health-care services.
- Since January 2010, the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry has ensured that all care aides and community health workers working or seeking employment in publicly funded facilities are registered and meet current educational standards. Employers are also required to report any abuse or neglect to the registry for followup and investigation.
Developing an elder abuse prevention strategy also supports B.C.'s 10-year mental health and substance use plan, Healthy Minds, Healthy People.
Minister of Health Michael de Jong -
"Elder abuse is under-recognized and under-reported and raising awareness of this issue is an essential part of putting a stop to elder abuse. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is a perfect opportunity to increase awareness and for individuals, organizations, and communities across the province to come together to promote independence, dignity, and security for all British Columbians as they age."
Ron Cantelon, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors to the Minister of Health -
"By working together we can create an increased understanding of the complex issue of elder abuse. We will continue to support the development of preventative strategies and measures that will ensure that the older members of our community feel safe, respected and protected."
John Mabbott, executive director of Health Match BC -
"Elder abuse can have a huge impact on seniors and their families and it is important to raise awareness of this often hidden issue. To date, the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry has registered over 40,000 care aides and community health workers, students and individuals seeking work in this field. We are not only supporting the profession, but actively and immediately following up on allegations of abuse or neglect to ensure the safety of some of our most vulnerable citizens."
Sherry Baker, executive director, BC Association of Community Response Networks -
"The reality is that every day many seniors face abuse, but raising awareness through public education campaigns like World Elder Abuse Awareness Day can help change this. Thanks, in part, to support from the Province, individuals, groups and agencies in communities across B.C. are working together to make a difference and to promote a co-ordinated community response to help stop adult abuse and neglect."
- Almost one-sixth of B.C.'s population is over 65-years-old. Over the next 20 years, the number of seniors will almost double from 699,363 to an estimated 1,355,701.
- With an aging population, elder abuse is an increasing concern throughout Canada.
- In June 2011, the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Forum of Ministers Responsible for Seniors specified elder abuse prevention as a priority area of focus.
- The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse launched the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, 2006.
Improving Care for B.C. Seniors: An Action Plan is available online at: www.seniorsbc.ca
Looking for more information on elder abuse and resources for prevention? Please visit: http://www.seniorsbc.ca/elder/
Are you a senior who is having issues with health-care services? The toll-free Seniors Health Care Support Line is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at
1 877 952-3181 or 250 952-3181 in Victoria.
Information on the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry is available at:
Wondering what World Elder Abuse Awareness Day activities are taking place in B.C. or looking for more information on the BC Association of Community Response Networks? Visit: www.bccrns.ca
Healthy Minds, Healthy People, the Province's 10-year plan to address mental health and substance use can be accessed at: www.health.gov.bc.ca/library/publications/year/2010/healthy_minds_healthy_people.pdf
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)