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Even more reasons to celebrate Seniors Month

Seniors Month is also a time to build awareness of the issues that impact the lives of many of today’s seniors – health, poverty, loneliness, housing, transportation and particularly abuse. - Photo 123rf.
Seniors Month is also a time to build awareness of the issues that impact the lives of many of today’s seniors – health, poverty, loneliness, housing, transportation and particularly abuse. - Photo 123rf.

Seniors, advocacy groups support their communities during the pandemic

After a three-month hiatus due to COVID-19, it is encouraging to know that Senior Living is once again a part of our community papers and our lives. We at SeniorsNL missed being able to connect with older adults across the province through the print media and happily welcome it back.

June is Seniors Month, a time to celebrate older adults across Canada and honour their contributions to our country and our society. It is a time to recognize their wisdom, strength and perseverance. Seniors Month is also a time to build awareness of the issues that impact the lives of many of today’s seniors – health, poverty, loneliness, housing, transportation and particularly abuse. During COVID-19 many, many seniors went above and beyond in their communities to help those less fortunate and in need of support. We offer a big thanks to them.

During Seniors Month, we also commemorated World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), designated by the United Nations and held annually on June 15. It is a day when people across the globe voice their opposition to the abuse often inflicted on seniors. Elder abuse is any act which causes harm to an older person and is often carried out by someone they know and trust such as a family member or friend. Abuse can come in many forms, including physical, social, financial, emotional or sexual, and can include mistreatment and neglect. As the United Nations tells us that elder abuse is a global social issue which affects the health and human rights of millions of older persons around the world.

Over the past several years, WEAAD was commemorated in this province by gatherings of seniors in their communities for a meal, some entertainment, and always a discussion of abuse. This year, due to COVID-19, was different as we were unable to come together in groups. On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the NL Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NLNPEA), a very important part of SeniorsNL, hosted a provincial webinar titled Exploring Issues Encountered by Seniors during COVID-19. The NLNPEA is comprised of individuals, community organizations and government agencies from across the province and is supported by a provincial steering committee. The committee has representation from the four health regions, the RCMP and RNC, and the aboriginal and multi-cultural communities, among others.

Presenters for the webinar included Lorraine Best, Peer Support Volunteer with SeniorsNL, who spoke to the emotional challenges of COVID-19; Charlene Brophy, Chief Executive Officer of 811, who presented on the health aspects of the pandemic; and Steve Ross, Policy Analyst for Adult Protection, who discussed the financial aspects of COVID-19 on seniors. The overarching theme of elder abuse was noted throughout with questions posed by the Provincial Coordinator of the Network at the beginning of the event and following each speaker’s presentation. The first question was: “Do you think elder abuse increased during COVID-19?” 94 per cent of participants said “yes.”

The session was recorded and transferred to SeniorsNL’s new YouTube Channel. Readers are invited to listen to the session at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwowLS6G1Do

Readers are also invited to tune in next month for another news item from SeniorsNL.

If you are aware of a senior who is being abused and does not understand or appreciate the risk of this abuse, it is mandatory to report it to the Adult Protection line at 1-855-376-4957. You are also welcome to call SeniorsNL’s Information Line at 1-800-563-5599 for additional referrals.

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