Sarnia-Lambton Elder Abuse Awareness Network hosting educational art event June 15
Elder abuse may impact a specific segment of the population, but it’s the entire community that plays a role in ending it, says a member of the Sarnia-Lambton Elder Abuse Awareness Network.
That’s why the committee of social service professionals will be staging Generations United Through Art – a day-long event to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – set for June 15.
“We’ve come up with the name Generations United Through Art because we hope that we will have youth, seniors and their kids all there to participate,” said committee member Tania Bergen. “We want to bring together all generations, not just seniors to recognize this important issue.”
The June 15 event will feature free art activities and refreshments at the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Organizers will also be running an “It’s Not Right” session that demonstrates real-life scenarios to help friends, family members and neighbours of seniors learn the warning signs of elder abuse and neglect.
Bergen said it’s important for the community to recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
“It’s very important because they need to be educated on how they can help their friends, family members or neighbours if they come across this situation, and it helps them to know what services are available for them.”
Elder abuse can take various forms like physical, psychological, financial and sexual.
North American studies have indicated that between two to 10 per cent of seniors will experience some form of elder abuse or neglect annually, according to the Elder Abuse Ontario website.
Based on those studies, Elder Abuse Ontario suggests as many as 200,000 Ontario seniors could have experienced or are currently experiencing elder abuse.
“It can be intentional or unintentional too, so (seniors) may not know or necessarily recognize the signs that they are being abused,” Bergen said.
“When they see the information [on elder abuse] out there, sometimes they say, ‘Oh, that’s happening to me.’”
If someone suspects themselves or a loved one is the victim of elder abuse, Bergen said the first step is to notify the police.
Community agencies also offer support like housing and financial advice for victims.
“We have all different sorts of agencies, like Lambton Elderly Outreach, Red Cross, CCAC (Community Care Access Centre), the Alzheimer’s Society,” she said.
Generations United Through Art is being sponsored by the County of Lambton, the Sarnia-Lambton Local Immigration Partnership and Steeves & Rozema. No registration is required for the event.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Generations United Through Art, featuring free art activities and refreshments to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
WHEN: June 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery, 147 Lochiel St.
IF YOU NEED HELP:
• Sarnia Police Services – 519-344-8861
• Lambton OPP – 1-888-310-1122
• Kettle Point – Annishinabek First Nation Police – 519-786-5445