3 min read

Beth’s Story – World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2023

Picture yourself as a senior. Despite being widowed, you have grown children, you are living independently and embracing a fulfilling social life. Unfortunately, the pandemic caused you to lose many of your social connections.

During this trying time, your daughter has been helping you with your banking and bill payments, but you discover that she has been taking large amounts of money without your permission for her own benefit. To protect yourself, you decide to change your account information. However, you are now being emotionally and verbally abused by your daughter because of this decision.

Feeling like you have no other choice, you call the Distress Centre for support – something you never imagined you would have to do.

Situations like this happen to be reality for many older adults and seniors in our community. This also happens to be Beth’s story.

Elder abuse is a complex issue and often goes unreported. It is estimated that up to 10% of all older adults experience some form of abuse, most frequently by a person in a position of trust like a family member or caregiver. This represents a potential of over 700,000 older Canadians across Canada.

“Making the phone call that day was just so hard, I couldn’t believe it. I just love her so much.” Beth says.

By making that call, she was connected with a member from carya’s Elder Abuse Response Team (EART), who supported her through her journey. She was able to access resources to help improve her social connections and independence, such as getting transportation through Access Calgary, access to homecare, and connecting with volunteer-run technology training sessions.

While she still receives threatening messages from her daughter, Beth is now able to feel empowered not to respond to them, with the support of counselling. She has worked to set strong boundaries with her daughter while keeping the door open to repair the relationship.

Elder abuse is an eye-opening subjects that often catches us off guard, as we never imagine it happening to someone we know. Still, it’s essential to acknowledge the reality – elder abuse exists, and it cannot be ignored.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is on June 15, 2023, and is a globally recognized day to speak out against elder abuse and raise awareness. With Canada’s fastest growing population being over the age of 65, elder abuse is a deeply concerning issue that impacts not just individuals and families, but the entire Calgary community.

Join carya in being a part of the conversation on June 15th and beyond. Talk to the older adults in your life and watch for behaviour that seems out of character. If you suspect a case of elder abuse, or just want someone to talk to about a situation you’re concerned about, call our Elder Abuse Resource Line at 403-705-3250.

Above all, let the older adults in your life know that you’re there to support them.