World Elder Abuse Awareness Day set for June 15

By Michael Boriero - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Quebecers are encouraged to wear a purple ribbon on June 15 in support of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
The annual event helps shed a light on all types of elder mistreatment. It also teaches people how to mobilize against dangerous situations, such as physical, psychological, financial and sexual abuse.
“It’s important to sensitize the population about the mistreatment towards elders because it’s a problem that’s very important in our society when you consider the large numbers of vulnerable elders suffering all forms of abuse,” said Marie-Eve Nadeau.
Nadeau, the regional coordinator of the Fight Against Elder Abuse in the Eastern Townships, said that for many people the COVID-19 pandemic was an opportunity to realize that there are deep-seated institutional problems.
However, she avoided making any blanket statements. Not all CHSLDs or private care homes need to be fixed, Nadeau explained. There are plenty of long term care facilities that handled the virus with swift action. The issues stem from organizational failure.
“It’s true that negligence of care workers caused mistreatment at an organizational level and we didn’t talk about it enough. They didn’t have enough material to help the issues at hand,” Nadeau said.
While large gatherings are still prohibited due to the ongoing health crisis, she said that there are plenty of opportunities for people to educate themselves. The Eastern Townships concertation (roundtable) against the mistreatment of elders is leading the charge.
The concertation is bringing information about elder abuse directly to people’s homes through radio campaigns and interviews. There is also a videoconference hosted by Yvon Riendeau, a social gerontologist discussing the topic of ageism.
“What we want is to encourage people to not close their eyes to mistreatment, abuse or violence. We need to stop thinking that this doesn’t exist, this concerns all of us,” Nadeau said.

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