The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) urges the community to spot the signs and help stop elder abuse.

Today, June 15, EPS and our community partners are recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

In response to the increase of elder abuse incidences in Edmonton, EPS, along with the partner agencies of the Edmonton Seniors Protection Partnership (SPP), is encouraging the public to learn the signs of abuse and help ensure the well-being of the city’s older adults. SPP is a collaboration of EPS, the City of Edmonton, Catholic Social Services, Covenant Health, and Sage Seniors Association.

Preventing and responding to elder abuse by raising awareness and addressing high risk cases of abuse is the focus of the SPP. Elder abuse includes physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, as well as the financial exploitation or neglect of an older person. Last year, SPP responded to 291 reports of elder abuse, an increase of more than 40 per cent over 2018.

“The increase in the number of reports of elder abuse is an indicator that more seniors and those who care about them are speaking out,” said Det. Alfred Ma of the Senior Protection Unit of the EPS. “That is the first step to ending the abuse. It is also why it is so important that we grow the conversation. To create awareness of the signs of elder abuse and to confront that abuse as a community because elder abuse hurts us all.”

According to SPP’s 2019 data, 76 per cent of Edmonton’s abused elders were victimized by an adult child or family relative. However, abusers may also include friends, care-givers or others who are in a position of trust or authority. 

“Seniors often face significant barriers when seeking help or support,” said Sarah Ramsey, Community Social Worker with Seniors Protection Partnership, City of Edmonton. “If the abuser is a family member, older adults may hesitate to reach out, out of a sense of loyalty. They may also fear a person in a position of control or authority like a caregiver; or feel embarrassed or ashamed.” 

Some of the signs of a person experiencing abuse include:

  • Discrepancies between a person’s standard of living and his/her financial assets, or a depletion of assets, without adequate explanation.
  • Malnourishment and inadequate physical care.
  • Physical injuries, such as bruises, burn marks, welts, rope burns, tufts of hair missing, broken bones, none of which can be adequately explained.
  • Withdrawn, apathetic or fearful behaviour, particularly around certain persons.
  • Medical needs not attended to.

If you believe someone is experiencing abuse, call, or encourage them to call the police complaint line at 780-423-4567. For resources and information regarding senior abuse, call 211 or the 24/7 helpline at 780-454-8888. For reporting and consultations regarding senior abuse, call the Elder Abuse Intake Line: 780-477-2929. If an older person is in imminent danger at the hands of an abuser, call 911.

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