3 min read

Team carya: Heather’s Story

As a social worker on carya’s Elder Abuse Response Team (EART), Heather Jeffery collaborates with the Calgary Police Force to identify elder abuse cases in the community. Heather has dedicated over five years of her career to facilitating a better Calgary for senior citizens. She says the most challenging part of her job is providing resources and walking away from cases where individuals continue to live at risk.

“Sometimes, we do as much as we can but need to allow the individual to choose to acknowledge and prevent major risk factors – in these cases, it is important to make resources as accessible as possible if the person would like us to potentially re-engage.” 

Heather calls attention to rising case numbers since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“My team deals with about three to four cases weekly and has observed a large spike in cases since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.”

She says COVID-19 restrictions have impacted the lifestyles of many, resulting in heightened isolation amongst senior populations. Heather hopes vulnerable individuals can find and access resources like carya’s EART to prevent elder abuse in the community. 

Despite the challenging times, Heather loves her role on the team and appreciates the variety of cases. “Every file is different, and I like the challenge of being able to respond quickly to diverse scenarios.” Furthermore, Heather says she is beyond grateful for both her team and carya colleagues – who are a crucial support system in this front-line position.

Heather urges those interested in social work to begin their journey.

“As a mature student, I believe no time is a bad time to follow your dreams.”

Heather earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Calgary and continues to inspire all she encounters. 

As a leader in the sector, carya also offers consultation and education about Calgary’s Elder Abuse Response Team to organizations and professionals in the community. Learn more about EART and our elder abuse consultation services here. 

If you or someone you know may be experiencing elder abuse, please call the Elder Abuse Resource Line at 403-705-3250. To make a report on a suspected case of elder abuse, please call the police non-emergency line at 403-266-1234. If you or someone you know is at immediate risk, please call 911. 

To support carya‘s work in elder abuse response and prevention, please donate today and invest in strong families and communities for generations.