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Province protecting seniors through education, awareness

CANADA, August 4 - Seniors in B.C. will be better protected against abuse as the Province continues to work with partners to further raise awareness and co-ordinated community responses to prevent abuse and neglect.

This work is being done with the partnership of the BC Association of Community Response Networks (BC CRN) and the Council to Reduce Elder Abuse (CREA).

“Seniors are vital to our society and it’s important that we treat them with the care and respect they deserve,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Seniors often face isolation, which makes them more vulnerable to abuse. That’s why helping people recognize the signs of elder abuse and prevent the distress it causes our seniors across the province is a top priority for our government, and we are looking forward to continuing to partner with the BC CRN and CREA on this important work.”

The BC CRN has received a grant of $4.2 million in provincial funding to support Community Response Networks (CRNs) throughout the province for the next three years. Eighty-six CRNs in more than 256 communities in B.C. bring seniors and community representatives together to create a co-ordinated community response to abuse, neglect and self-neglect of vulnerable adults, as well as spread awareness of elder abuse through local learning events, newsletters, informational workshops, projects, conferences, a robust website and referrals.

“Responding to elder abuse begins with preventing it,” said Harwinder Sandhu, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors’ Services and Long-Term Care. “It’s our responsibility to ensure seniors are protected now and in the future. Our partnership with the BC CRN will support awareness programs so that people in B.C. can better identify the signs of abuse and neglect, and prevent it altogether, to ensure seniors’ safety.”

In addition, CREA has received $300,000 to foster collaboration and co-ordination to advance the prevention of elder abuse, such as recognition, prevention and response, by sharing information, raising public awareness and supporting professional development and capacity-building throughout B.C.

“We know that the most effective way to make positive change happen in community is to bring the community leaders, service providers and volunteers together, and have them identify the issues and come up with their own unique solutions,” said Sherry Baker, executive director, BC CRN. “With the funding support from the Province, BC CRN mentors support the development of a co-ordinated community response to the abuse, neglect and self-neglect of their most vulnerable citizens. The ultimate goal is to build safe communities together where adults are valued, respected and free from abuse and neglect.”

Since 2017, the Ministry of Health has invested more than $10.7 million in the BC CRN and CREA.

Past community projects organized by local CRNs include World Elder Abuse Awareness Day events throughout the province. These events include a gathering in Burnaby’s Central Park for the Lower Mainland Chinese community hosted by the Chinese CRN, a new advance care planning tool for 2SLGBTQIA+ seniors developed by the LOVE LGBTQ2S CRN in Vancouver, and Intergenerational Day events and presentations for seniors in Gitxsan, Wet’suwet’en and Hazelton communities, organized by the Wii O’ o’ m Niin CRN.

By supporting community response at a local level, CRNs facilitate and support responsive prevention activities based on the input from the individual communities they serve, while also ensuring provincewide learning events, newsletters, materials and collaboration.  

During the past five years, government has invested approximately $2 billion to expand and improve quality care for seniors in B.C., including investments in primary care, home health, long-term care and assisted living.

Quick Facts:

  • Elder abuse, including neglect and self-neglect, is defined as a single or repeated act, or a lack of appropriate action, that causes harm or distress to an older person.
  • Elder abuse can take place in a senior’s home, a care facility or in the community, and often involves a person in a position of trust or a situation of dependency.
  • Abuse can be physical, emotional, verbal, financial, sexual, spiritual or neglectful.
  • Financial abuse is the most common form of elder abuse.
  • A national prevalence study found that approximately 8% of seniors in B.C. experience some form of abuse.

Learn More:

To learn more about elder abuse and neglect, visit: 
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/seniors/health-safety/protection-from-elder-abuse-and-neglect 
Or https://reduceelderabusebc.ca/

To learn more about the BC Association of Community Response Networks, visit: www.bccrns.ca

To learn more about the Council to Reduce Elder Abuse, visit: https://reduceelderabusebc.ca/

For a list of all Community Response Networks, visit: https://bccrns.ca/resources/crn-directory/

To learn more about services, resources and supports available to seniors in B.C., visit: http://www.seniorsbc.ca/

For more information about bc211, a service that matches older adults who need support with non-medical essentials, to volunteers in their community, visit:
https://bc.211.ca/