BCAFN Acknowledges World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

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Press Release

(Lheidli T’enneh Territory, Prince George, BC – June 15, 2020) – Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), a day to express opposition to significant human rights and public health issues and renew commitment to positive changes. 

“Elders hold special positions of value within First Nations families and communities. They hold a vast and deep well of knowledge including our laws, cultures, and languages. First Nations Elders are integral to the wellbeing of our communities. Our teachings tell us to respect and care for our Elders. We can help them in practical ways, seek to learn from them, and check in with them and speak out if they are suffering and being mistreated,” stated BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Elder abuse is vastly underreported and can take many different forms. One in five Canadians believe they know of a senior who might be experiencing some form of abuse. It can happen to people in all walks of life.Elder abuse is any action or lack of action by someone in a relationship of trust that results in harm or distress to an older person. Abuse may be physical, psychological, sexual, financial, active or passive neglect, and may occur in any relationship or setting, including both families and institutions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the particular vulnerability of seniors to financial fraud. It has increased social isolation for some and reduced access to protections and services. Abuse and neglect occurring in long-term residential care homes has also been highlighted.

It is important to recognize the signs of elder abuse and reach out if you or someone you know may be experiencing abuse. Some signs that may indicate an elder is being abused are:

  • fear, anxiety, depression or passiveness in relation to a family member, friend or care provider;
  • unexplained physical injuries;
  • dehydration, poor nutrition or poor hygiene;
  • improper use of medication;
  • confusion about new legal documents, such as a new will or a new mortgage;
  • sudden drop in cash flow or financial holdings; and,
  • reluctance to speak about the situation.

This year’s theme for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is “Uproot Elder Abuse, Plant a Seed for Change”. It encourages change one seed at a time. Take time today to “plant a seed” through learning about elder abuse, supporting the movement to end elder abuse, and most importantly, check in with the elders in your life and have a conversation to build awareness and communication around elder abuse.

To mark this important day, you can also take time to plant a tree or plant and use it as a way to raise awareness and have a conversation. You can do this fun and beneficial intergenerational activity virtually or at a safe physical distance with others that you know.

Further Resources:
Seniors First BC

Information on financial abuse from the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) and B.C.'s Office of the Seniors Advocate (OSA)

Government of Canada, Protect yourself, learn the signs, reach out

Vancouver Coastal Health, BC First Nations Adult Abuse, Neglect and Self Neglect

BC Government/Reporting Elder Abuse:

United Nations

#WEAAD2020 #UprootAbuse #RejectFinancialAbuse #WorldElderAbuseAwarenessDay

The United Nations General Assembly designated each June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in 2011. It was first marked by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) in 2006.

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