On June 15 the lighthouse in Lighthouse Park will be lit up with purple lights in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Angela Kinzel, Sylvan Lake’s elder abuse prevention coordinator, says it is important to recognize this issue is prevalent everywhere.
“By spreading the word, building awareness we can prevent and reduce the abuse of older adults,” she said in an email.
On June 15, Kinzel is encouraging residents to wear purple in support of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Purple, according the Kinzel, is recognized in conjunction with elder abuse prevention.
There will also be posters and social media posts with ideas for showing older adults they are cared for.
Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre proclaimed June 15 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day at a recent meeting of council.
The Alberta Government says financial and emotional abuse are the most common forms of elder abuse in the province.
Kinzel says this is because the abuser is often “someone who is in a position of power, trust or authority such as a family member, friend, or caregiver.”
“The fear of repercussions, shame or guilt, embarrassment or sometimes they simply do not have the capacity to report it because of isolation,” she said.
In 2015 Sylvan Lake FCSS received a grant to begin to address elder abuse and formed a Sylvan Lake and Area Protocol named Taking Action Against Elder Abuse.
One of the protocol’s focus is to raise awareness about the situation and to start a conversation.
“Raising awareness can help community members understand the factors that contribute to the abuse of older adults, how to recognize abuse and where to go for assistance,” said Kinzel.
Sylvan Lake FCSS has held workshops, like the “It`s Not Right, Neighbours, Friends & Family for Older Adults” workshop, to teach residents about the warning signs and how to respond.
According to Kinzel, elder abuse is “any action or inaction by self or others that jeopardizes the health or well-being of any older adult. It can take several forms including financial, emotional, spiritual/cultural, physical, sexual, medical, and neglect.”
She continued to say an older adult may not speak out because they have a close relationship to their abuser, which leads to many cases not being reported.
For more information, support or help contact: FCSS Senior Services Outreach Worker at 403-887-1137 Ext. 444, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sylvan Lake & District Victim Services at 403-858-7255 Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. In cases of an emergency dial 911.
“Together we can make a crucial difference in keeping older adults free from abuse and helping those who are abused.”