Elder abuse comes in many forms and, as the percentage of seniors increases, so too do the opportunities for abuse.
With federal funding in hand, Immigration Services Shuswap will study the problem in the Shuswap.
The program will launch at Deo Lutheran Church Saturday, with a forum intended to raise community awareness of exploitation and abuse of seniors who are vulnerable to abuse as a result of infirmity, isolation or lost independence.
Immigrant Services program manager Jerre Paquette will collaborate with seniors’ community groups, non-profits and charities to increase the Shuswap community’s ability to recognize abusive practices, help seniors access appropriate support services and integrate isolated seniors into the community.
The forum will include presenters from the RCMP, the church, and the Immigration Services Shuswap banking, Interior Health.
Following brief presentations, considerable time will be made available for participating elders and family members to voice their specific concerns and ask questions.
Following the forum, a series of 10 small group conversations held over several weeks and led by senior volunteers, will enable people to tell their stories and share their concerns in a non-threatening environment.
“All I want is seniors to be in a position to take charge of their own situation; they become silent, lose independence and we make assumptions about them,” says Paquette, noting the subject is a touchy one that many people and organizations don’t want to talk about.
Paquette says, “We know it’s here and we need to provide them (seniors) with a safe environment in which to voice their observations and fears.”
The forum runs from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24 at the Deo Lutheran Church 1801 – 30th St. NE. Conversations will result in the production of a number of brochures and resource booklets made available to the Shuswap community.
For specific inquiries, or to offer your participation, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 250-275-4984 to speak with Jerre Paquette.