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Bring back a seniors advocate, groups urge UCP government

Public Interest Alberta and Friends of Medicare recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day by calling for independent seniors advocate.
June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, a chance, say advocates for government to move toward appointing a seniors advocate. Photo: Metro Creative Connection

On Elder Abuse Awareness Day, local advocacy groups are pushing for the government to bring in a designated, independent seniors advocate.

"Elder abuse remains a real crisis facing Alberta seniors. They deserve better than empty rhetoric from this government,” said Bradley Lafortune, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “The UCP government needs to create an independent seniors advocate.”

“Seniors struggle with poverty, loneliness, housing insecurity, and lack of access to social services," said Chris Gallaway, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare. “Decades of underfunding has left seniors uniquely vulnerable to abuse. If we want to address the issue of elder abuse, we need to look at the root causes.”

Gallaway added, “We are calling on this government to bring back an independent seniors advocate as a first step to ensure seniors are safe and able to live in dignity."

For its part, the Alberta government issued this statement to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: 

"Elder abuse is a serious issue in our province – it is estimated that more than one in 10 Alberta seniors is a victim of elder abuse. Every one has a part to play in helping to spot and stop elder abuse. You can start by simply talking about it with your friends, family and neighbours to build awareness. The more people who shine a light on this issue, the easier it will be to stop abuse before it happens, " said Minister of Seniors and Housing Josephine Pon.

“If you know someone who may be a victim of elder abuse, please reach out for help by calling the Family Violence Info Line at 310-1818, or 911 for emergencies."

“Alberta seniors deserve better,” replied Lafortune. “They deserve better than abuse. They deserve better than housing insecurity. And they deserve better than a government that constantly puts them at the bottom of their priorities. We’re done waiting. We need solutions for seniors now.” 

Friends of Medicare and Public Interest Alberta, alongside the Canadian Association of Retired Persons and Seniors United Now, have been advocating for an independent, legislated, and properly empowered seniors advocate