Raising Awareness About Elder Abuse

Raising Awareness About Elder Abuse

By Hana Cairns

June 15th is Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This is an important day to recognize that countless seniors are experiencing domestic abuse, and countless more do not feel safe to disclose it.

According to research, up to 10% of older adults in Canada experience some form of elder abuse[i]. Since only about 1 in 5 seniors report abuse[ii], we must recognise that the actual number will be much higher. Even if we take the conservative estimate that 10% of seniors experience abuse, in Canada this is nearly 1 million people.

In addition, police have reported that violence against seniors has risen by 22% between 2014 and 2019[iii]. The most common types of abuse reported include financial (62%), emotional(35%), physical (26%), neglect (10%), and sexual assault (8%)[iv].

But we have to remember that all of these percentages are people: they are our neighbours, our parents and grandparents, our colleagues, and our friends. They are our babysitters and our colleagues, our golfing partners and our travel buddies.

We would like to introduce you to one of these women, so that we remember that these stats are not just numbers, they are people first and foremost.

A senior woman accessed our Transition House while leaving an abusive environment.  After her stay completed, she transitioned to our WISH Program, a second-stage program we offer in Kelowna to support women after they leave the Transition House. As her journey unfolded, it became evident that she would need additional assistance in securing housing and organizing her finances. Our Outreach team stepped in, helping to ensure she found a safe and stable living situation, facilitating a smooth transition into her new home.

It is always difficult to witness anyone experience abuse, yet because seniors are especially vulnerable, it was additionally challenging for the team to witness. However, this story has a happy ending.

She now lives a life free of abuse, and full of independence.

This story highlights the importance of providing wrap around supports for seniors experiencing abuse.  As we recognize Elder Abuse Awareness Day, let's remember that no senior should suffer in silence and that everyone has access to the help they need.

Seniors have unique needs that deserve to be recognised. Our team at the Kelowna Women’s Shelter brings vast experience supporting women of all ages and can provide individualized care and support for whomever needs it.

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing abuse, please contact our 24/7 support line at:

Phone: 250-763-1040

Text: 236-970-0704

[i]Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (CNPEA),

[ii]National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE)

[iii] https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2021001/article/00018-eng.htm

[iv] https://cnpea.ca/en/what-is-elder-abuse

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Abuse is never okay.
Asking for help is.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need us.
Our support team is on duty 24/ 7 and ready to help.

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