Gateway Gazette

Community Response Initiative will Support Elders at Risk

New coordinated response initiative provides support for victims of elder abuse

A new Coordinated Community Response (CCR) strategy, created by key service providers, is providing greater support in recognizing and responding to elder abuse in the Foothills region.

“Until recently there was no formal regional response to elder abuse in the Foothills. Generally this resulted in a lack of consistency and knowledge about how to identify it and the best way to respond and prevent this most complex social issue,” said Julie Leggett, CCR coordinator. “The Coordinated Community Response is a shared strategy throughout the region, so we are better able to respond more quickly and effectively when a potential situation is identified.”

The strategy was developed by a steering committee comprised of representatives from Okotoks, High River, Turner Valley, Black Diamond and the Municipal District of Foothills. The members come from key service organizations including RCMP, Foothills Victim Services, Alberta Health Services, Calgary Rural Primary Care Network, Westwinds Communities, Rowan House Society, and FCSS programs.

“Over the past year and half, the steering committee has leveraged the collective knowledge, services and expertise of multiple agencies to create a model that will be more effective and efficient in preventing and addressing elder abuse in this region,” said Leggett.

Elder abuse has been identified as an increasingly important issue as the population continues to age. Alberta has more than 500,000 seniors and a 2015 report on family violence indicated that Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan had the highest number of senior victims in police reports of family violence.

Elder abuse can take many forms including financial, psychological, sexual and physical. The results of a 2016 Canadian study indicated that 7.5 percent of older adults are likely to experience some form of abuse with psychological and financial being the most prevalent types.

The CCR strategy, which was funded through a grant from Alberta Seniors and Housing, will be implemented in stages to participating communities and agencies over the next three to six months.  Educating and training core responders will be the first priority, before introducing it to support organizations and the general community.

For more information contact the Okotoks Family Resource Centre at 403.995.2626 or High River FCSS at 403.652.8620.

Source: Town of Okotoks

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