June 13, 2014 8:17 pm

Creating awareness about elder abuse


LETHBRIDGE – It’s one of the most under reported crimes in the country. Seniors continue to be an easy target in communities such as Lethbridge.

With World Elder Abuse Awareness Day approaching, Lethbridge Regional Police and the Lethbridge Elder Abuse Response Network (LEARN) held a barbecue on Friday to help promote the message.

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Sgt. Dan Walton says local police receive up to four inquires a week concerning elder abuse and around 150 cases are investigated every year. These numbers don’t come close to how many seniors are actually abused, he says.

“The biggest things we found when we started working with seniors was that they come from a different generation. They’re more trusting and they’re more open hearted that they’re willing to help those. And unfortunately there are people out there that pray on that.”

Marlene Van Eden, with LEARN, says there’s no excuse for abuse to happen.

“We shouldn’t be abusing our seniors. They need to be taken care of.”

Sgt. Walton says elder abuse “can be financial abuse, it can be sexual abuse, it can be physiological abuse.”

Lethbridge is definitely not immune to elder abuse. He says reporting it is half the battle.

“Just having the awareness and not being isolated, that will help prevent you from being a target.”

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is this Sunday, and advocates are urging everyone to show their support for the cause by wearing the colour purple.

If you would like more information you can visit lethseniors.com, or call 403-394-0306.

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