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Posted: June 21, 2018

Cranbrook CRN shines a light

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day marked

Left, BC CRN Regional Mentor, Doug Newberry with Cranbrook CRN member, Kevin Dunk Photo credit: Carey Henry

Friday, June 15, was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. To mark the occasion and shine a light on the various forms of elder abuse, the Cranbrook Community Response Network (CRN) hosted an information table at Joseph Creek Village’s Sam Steele Days Pancake Breakfast.

In 2006, the United Nations officially proclaimed June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to bring greater recognition of abuse and neglect of seniors, which is taking place in communities everywhere. While elder abuse often goes unreported, the Ministry of Health reports that as many as 10% of B.C. seniors will experience some form of abuse in their later years, that one in twelve seniors will experience some form of financial abuse, and that this abuse is usually caused by close family members or trusted friends.

In Cranbrook, social, community and health service organizations, government agencies, community minded individuals, local business and seniors have come together to form a Community Response Network (CRN).

The Cranbrook CRN can provide informational workshops to members of the community to build awareness, help workers in the community recognize the signs of abuse and identify those in the area who are able to take action.

Laurie Harris, a member of the local CRN team said, “The Cranbrook CRN highlights the need for prevention activities that allow seniors in the community to live in safety and dignity. Just as importantly, our CRN honours and celebrates those who remain active and vibrant members of our community.”

According to Harris we all have a role to play in creating the safe, supportive communities that we want to live and grow old in. She added, “During a recent CRN workshop for seniors, an older lady found her voice and told her story: Shirley, an elderly lady daily went to a local coffee outlet. Over a couple of weeks, coffee shop staff noticed Shirley’s appearance was changing from a happy, nicely dressed and clean customer. She was becoming unkempt, appeared cold, dirty, and hungry.  Coffee shop staff thought she was going downhill.

“They decided to approach her to see if there was something they could help with. She confided in them that her son had taken over her house and she was now living in the basement without proper cooking or bathing facilities. Because the coffee shop staff had learned what to do from a CRN workshop, they were able to help her to get the help she needed.”

With the inclusion of local businesses as members of the CRN, community members can take responsibility for making appropriate referrals and help to keep Cranbrook safe and secure for their most vulnerable citizens.

Lead image: Avy Youngs, SIP/Kootenay CARP Representative; Centre:  Carrie Henry, SIP/Seniors Navigator; Right:  Kevin Dunk, SIP/BC CRN Representative. Photo courtesy Doug Newberry

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