As one of the commitments in the recently released seniors' action plan, consultations are now underway in British Columbia to develop a strategy to prevent, identify and respond to elder abuse and neglect.
'Improving Care for B.C. Seniors: An Action Plan' committed to having strategies and measures in place to provide seniors with protections from abuse and neglect. Actions included a consultation to develop an elder abuse prevention strategy as well as invest in the operation and expansion of Community Response Networks to help organizations prevent and respond to elder abuse and neglect.
Elder abuse may involve mistreatment, violence or even neglect. Abuse may be physical or sexual, psychological or emotional, or financial.
Elder abuse can be at the hands of a spouse, an adult child or other family member. It can be inflicted by a caregiver, a service provider, or other person in a situation of power or trust. Abuse can happen when a senior is living in an institution or a private residence.
Consultations are now taking place with regional stakeholders who have involvement and expertise in elder abuse. To date, meetings have taken place in Victoria, Prince George, Kelowna, Langley and Surrey, with meetings still to take place in Parksville and Vancouver.
The meetings are taking place with invited individuals and organizations from a variety of sectors - community and police-based victim services and outreach services, not-for-profit, caregivers, Aboriginal, multicultural, justice, legal, senior-serving and financial. All of the invited representatives will be asked to share their expertise, experience and perspective on preventing elder abuse and neglect within B.C.
Elder abuse prevention consultations have already occurred with government ministries to identify existing strengths and challenges in the system, as well as to look for opportunities for cross-sector collaboration and co-ordination.
The Province also has provided $1.4 million to the BC Association of Community Response Networks. This investment will provide extra support for prevention and education activities, in collaboration with local stakeholders, to reduce elder abuse and neglect in B.C.
Developing an elder abuse prevention strategy also supports B.C.'s 10-year mental health and substance use plan, Healthy Minds, Healthy People.
The seniors' action plan can be found online at: www.SeniorsBC.ca
British Columbians are welcome to comment on the plan and its actions by sending an email to: SeniorsActionPlan@gov.bc.ca
Michael de Jong, Minister of Health -
"Protecting vulnerable seniors from all forms of elder abuse is one of government's top priorities. We recently announced a comprehensive seniors' action plan to ensure seniors and their families are consulted on ways to create a more accessible, transparent and accountable approach to seniors' care."
Ron Cantelon, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors to the Minister of Health -
"Elder abuse is a multi-faceted social problem. We hope to bring about a positive change with a prevention, identification and response strategy so all seniors feel safe and protected."
Martha Jane Lewis, executive director, BC Centre for Elder Advocacy Support -
"Elder abuse isn't just physical or emotional harm. It can be any form of abuse that occurs in diverse settings with different dynamics and requires different kinds of help and support. B.C.'s elder abuse prevention, identification and response strategy will provide extra supports for those who need help."
Sherry Baker, executive director, BC Association of Community Response Networks -
"Elder abuse is, unfortunately, happening all across Canada. B.C.'s strategy to highlight the problem of elder abuse will strengthen prevention efforts and help make it a thing of the past."
- 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 across Canada.
- In June 2011, the Federal/Provincial/Territorial (F/P/T) Forum of Ministers Responsible for Seniors specified elder abuse prevention as a priority area of focus.
- A Community Response Network is made up of individuals, groups and agencies that work at a community level to promote a coordinated community response to adult abuse and neglect.
To find out more information on elder abuse prevention, visit: www.SeniorsBC.ca/elder
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)