Alberta government providing $1.5M to stop elder abuse

FILE PHOTO: A 49-year-old caregiver is facing criminal charges after she allegedly stole close to $270,000 from an elderly Coquitlam couple under her care. File Photo / Reuters

The Alberta government announced increased funding on Thursday, which was also World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, in a bid to stop elder abuse.

Seniors and Housing Minister Lori Sigurdson announced the government is providing $1.5 million in funding for 31 community organizations.

“This funding will create and enhance the community coordinated response models to support the prevention of elder abuse at the local level,” Sigurdson said.

The funding comes from the Taking Action Against Elder Abuse Coordinated Community response grant program.

READ MORE: Experts: It’s the elder’s children who are doing most of the abusing

The Seniors Protection Partnership (SPP) in Edmonton is receiving $30,000, which will go towards working with community groups such as ASSIST Community Services Centre to reach isolated seniors from multicultural communities.

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ASSIST primarily helps Chinese immigrants integrate and contribute to society after moving to Edmonton.

“It’s a serious problem because lots of our seniors are suffering emotional, financial, even physical abuse, but because of the culture, language barrier, they’re not seeking help,” Fion Lee, ASSIST executive director, said.

“This is really something tailor made for them so that they feel more comfortable, more confident that they can seek help from the professional that understands them and not forcing them to do anything they don’t want.”

The province has committed $1.2 billion over five years towards building seniors lodges and affordable housing, and an additional $200 million in home-care services and 2,000 long-term care beds.

The City of Edmonton also hosted an event to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

It included a panel discussion on financial elder abuse, where representatives from financial institutions in Edmonton discussed warning signs and resources available to support victims of abuse.

“Aging adults deserve our best effort to stop financial abuse,” Anne-Marie Lambert, head of ATB  Financial’s Enterprise Anti-Crime and Security, said.

“Seniors lose money, security and dignity, and their quality of life suffers when offenders—whether they’re friends, family, caregivers or complete strangers —leave their mark. This has to change.”

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In Edmonton, support for elder abuse victims is also coordinated through the Seniors Protection Partnership, which includes Catholic Social Services, City of Edmonton and Edmonton Police Service.

“Edmonton is a very supportive community, which includes the valuable contributions of our hardworking seniors,” Coun. Bev Esslinger said.

“By knowing what to look for, we can address this issue and continue our efforts to ensure Edmonton is a great place to live for everyone.”


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