Monday, February 11, 2008

Canada to devote $13 Million to Shatter the Silence of Elder Abuse

OTTAWA -Canada Norma Greenaway, Canwest News Service- Conservative Senator Marjory LeBreton says she has sought cabinet approval of about $13 million to finance a national education campaign - complete with hard-hitting television ads - to shatter the silence that has allowed elder abuse to remain largely hidden for too long.

LeBreton, the minister responsible for seniors, says the three-year funding proposal flows from recommendations made in the first report of the government-appointed National Seniors Council, which, among other things, called on the federal government to take the lead in developing and implementing a far-reaching information effort to help people spot such abuse and report it.

Her proposal calls for television and radio ads, as well as printed materials, a 1-800 number and community outreach initiatives that would be designed to help health care workers and others who work with seniors, as well as the family and friends of seniors, spot abuse and know what to do when they find it. The mistreatment can range from financial and physical to emotional and psychological abuse.

LeBreton said it's difficult to get an accurate picture of the depth of the problem because so few seniors are willing to speak out. The best estimate is that between four and 10 per cent of senior reported some abuse, based on 2002 data, she said.

The reasons for the data gap are myriad. Shame. Fear. A sense of isolation. And a reluctance to create friction in the family.

Several provinces are already actively tackling the elder abuse problem, but the National Seniors Council said the federal government should step up to the plate to enhance national awareness and promote information sharing and research on the subject.

The council's next assignment is to recommend specific measures to help low-income seniors, most of whom are women, after conducting a round of public hearings in all regions of Canada.
Ottawa Citizen

No comments: