On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Alberta Government has announced new funding for response efforts in communities across Alberta.
A total of $1.5 million is going to 31 community organizations, including in Red Deer and Sylvan Lake.
In our city, The Golden Circle is receiving dollars to enhance the existing Co-ordinated Community Response model to improve coordination, formalize protocols and involve surrounding communities.
In Sylvan Lake, Family and Community Support Services is receiving funding to support a coordinator position. The towns of Penhold, Bowden and Bentley will all benefit from this funding as well.
Speaking at an education and information session at Parkland Mall on Thursday, Leanne Landry with Family Services of Central Alberta said as a leader for the region, Red Deer is hoping to get the rest of central Alberta on the same page.
“We've been doing a lot of groundwork. Last fall, we had a huge networking meeting -- we pulled in 22 different central Alberta communities and what we found is that a lot of people at that point didn’t realize elder abuse is an issue,” she said. “It’s hard to talk about and what we're trying to do today is educate seniors how to proactively protect themselves from being victimized from any type of scam, any type of family member that may or may not be treating them well.”
Landry explains elder abuse, be it of the financial, emotional or physical variety, is usually at the hands of a family member.
“If you look into statistics of abuse, a lot of the time it’s the intricate dynamics of the family unit that aren’t working, so we at Family Services and the Red Deer Co-ordinated Community Response recognize that parents and families and seniors need resources,” she said. “They need education and they need to know that we are here to support them.”
The Golden Circle also offers a 24-hour Elder Abuse hotline. To reach out for help, dial toll free 1-877-454-2580 or locally 403-346-6067.
“It’s not just for seniors,” Landry said adding caregivers have an extraordinarily tough job.
“Caregivers are so stressed out and so burnt out that they don’t have the patience and compassion that they need to care for their loved ones. Caring for an elderly loved one is a very stressful thing and we recognize that."
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