Statement on Elder Abuse Prevention Day: Irene Mathyssen

Today is World Elder Abuse Prevention Day, a time to recognize the abuse many seniors face in our neighborhoods. Sadly, too many seniors are being physically, sexually and mentally abused by care givers and loved ones.

This day was established in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA). The purpose was to shed light on an under reported and little talked about form of abuse.
In 2009 there were 7, 900 incidences of elder abuse reported to Statistics Canada. This was an increase of 14 percent from 2004. With an aging population, this number will only go up if we fail to take action now.

The federal government had a two year program, the Federal Elder Abuse Awareness Initiative, which was allowed to sunset on March 31, 2011. There is now no federal program to for prevention or awareness of elder abuse in Canada.

Today should not be a day to just recognize elder abuse; but it must be a start of a commitment to take action and protect some of the most vulnerable people in this country. I call upon the Federal government to establish a national elder abuse strategy which would include funding for prevention and awareness of elder abuse. Our seniors deserve better; they deserve dignity.