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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day especially important in post-pandemic times

Do you know the signs of elder abuse or where to turn if it's an issue?
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Do you know the signs of elder abuse, and where to turn for help? Photo: Metro Creative Connection

Tuesday marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, a time to recognize the signs of elder abuse and offer assistance to a senior that may be experiencing it. The Alberta government is providing $750,000 to the Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Council to support elder abuse prevention and intervention initiatives, something council chair Shantel Ottenbreit says will support the collaborative responses already going on in communities to ensure services remain available to any senior experiencing elder abuse.

How prevalent is it? Prior to the pandemic, government estimates show nearly one in 10 Alberta seniors may be abused in some way. Abuse can be physical, emotional, financial, sexual, neglect or even medication-related. And it's known rates of violence and abuse tend to increase during and following natural disasters, economic downturns and public health crises, i.e. the pandemic, so it's more important than ever to recognize the signs and offer assistance.

Other than calling 911 when someone is in immediate danger, there's a 24-hour Family Violence Info Line at 310-1818 offering anonymous help in more than 170 languages. As well, there are three elder abuse shelters in Alberta:

  • Kerby Rotary Shelter in Calgary – 403-705-3250
  • Sage Seniors Safe House in Edmonton – 780-702-1520
  • Elder Abuse Shelter in Red Deer – 403-343-6074

"Elder abuse is not acceptable, for anyone, and in any form. New initiatives will unite Alberta’s government with community organizations across the province to take stronger action against elder abuse," said Josephine Pon, Minister of Seniors and Housing.

See for more information.