All seniors in Alberta should feel respected, supported and safe.
Sadly, this is not always the case.
The most recent prevalence data that we have in Alberta suggests that about one in 10 Alberta seniors is a victim of elder abuse.
While a support system is available in the community, sometimes seniors and their caregivers need help navigating their way.
Recently my colleague, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Mike Ellis, and I announced new partnerships with community organizations so that those who work with seniors will have the resources to recognize signs and symptoms before a crisis emerges.
Alberta’s government will provide $650,000 to the Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Council for service navigators, who will help seniors and their caregivers access the supports they may need.
This is a positive initiative, but we must recognize that every single one of us can help spot and stop elder abuse.
It can start with a simple conversation.
Talking about it with friends, family and neighbours builds awareness.
If more of us raise the issue of elder abuse, the greater the chance we can stop it before it happens.
All Albertans should take a moment to check in on the seniors in their lives, and in their communities. If you know of someone who may be a victim of elder abuse, please reach out for help.
Seniors deserve to live free from harm and abuse. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an important reminder that we must work together to make our province safer for all seniors.
Josephine Pon served as Minister of Seniors and Housing from April 30, 2019 to October 24, 2022.