The Town of Cochrane has declared June 15 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
The day is being marked with a lilac tree planting at Bethany Cochrane by Mayor Jeff Genung and members of the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) committee.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is recognized around the world to bring attention to the abuse of older adults. Approximately 25% of crimes against older adults are committed by a family member.
With current restrictions in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, older adult are at more risk than usual. Many measures that protect them from coronavirus may have inadvertently created conditions that increase instances of elder abuse: they may be dependent on others for support and tasks such as cooking and personal care, and they may be feeling isolated, depressed and have lost employment or volunteer opportunities.
Older adults may be facing a difficult choice: stay in an abusive situation with less access to professional support, or flee the situation but have limited options to alternatives without leaving themselves at risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Limited in-person contact with friends and family can also mean fewer people to talk to about the abuse they may be experiencing, and fewer people to notice signs of abuse.
The WEAAD committee works with a variety of agencies in the Cochrane area to provide information, resources and support for older adults and others. They want to acknowledge the support of Branched Out Nursery for supporting this event with lilac bushes.
A lilac is planted every year at a location in Cochrane that has a connection with the older adult population. In past years, trees have been planted at Cochrane Cenotaph park, Cochrane Public Library and Frank Wills Memorial Hall.
Older adults and anyone else who suspects elder abuse can call Cochrane Family and Community Support Services at 403-851-2250, Cochrane and Area Victim Services at 403-851-8055 or the elder abuse support line at Calgary’s Kerby Centre at 403-705-3250.