August 21st, 2019

City putting focus on social isolation for Elder Abuse Awareness Day

By GILLIAN SLADE on June 12, 2019.

gslade@medicinehatnews.com@MHNGillianSlade

The consequences of social isolation for seniors is the theme for this year’s Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Saturday, says the city.

“This year, we have joined with groups and networks throughout the country to promote World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15. This year’s theme was chosen in hopes that we can shine a light on social inclusion, as a tool to keep us safe from abuse as we age,” said Shantel Ottenbreit, community resource worker, community connections and support with the city.

The city is also encouraging everyone to wear purple on Saturday to show support for older adults, raise awareness and honour survivors of elder abuse.

Ottenbreit says being socially isolated is common among older adults and more than 30 per cent of Canadian seniors are at risk of this.

Being isolated and lonely actually affects your physical health just like smoking 15 cigarettes a day does, she explained.

Social isolation can also put seniors at increased risk for elder abuse because it can be a tactic that abusers use to maintain power and control over the senior, said Ottenbreit.

She says all can play a meaningful part in helping to prevent social isolation of seniors and to prevent elder abuse.

Ottenbreit says people of all ages can connect more with seniors to provide companionship. It can be a simple and kind gesture that positively impacts that senior’s life. Consider short regular visits to chat, engage in some activities together such as cooking, reading aloud to the senior, eating together, going for a walk together or offering them a ride somewhere.

Ottenbreit says even if there are nearby family members for the senior we can all do our part to support them as they age.

“We can all get involved to create meaningful and lasting local changes,” said Ottenbreit.

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