Quesnel local Brenda Gardiner wants more people to know about elder abuse. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is this Saturday, June 15.
Gardiner, who works with seniors everyday as part of her role with Better at Home, is also Quesnel’s representative for the B.C. Community Response Network, which helps coordinate elder abuse awareness-related events around B.C.
In the past, Gardiner says she has painted the sidewalk purple outside her door on Reid Street, and had a booth in Spirit Square where people could learn about elder abuse and also design their own awareness paddles.
“And I had some seniors come up and put on their paddles: ‘Stop abusing me financially,’” says Gardiner.
She says seniors can suffer from financial, mental, physical and sexual abuse, and it’s important for everyone to learn the signs of these abuses.
“Mainly, it’s learning how to do the dialogue,” explains Gardiner. “So, say you were visiting grandma and you know she used to be quite well to do — all of a sudden, you notice she’s pinching every penny, or not getting the groceries that she needs. And it’s just delving into ‘what’s going on here?’”
When it comes to financial abuse, she says, banks have come on board in recent years and begun training their employees to recognize the signs — and stop or prevent it when they can. But it’s important for everyone to recognize the signs.
This Saturday, Gardiner will be away, but the windows of Better at Home will be covered with informative posters and the colour purple. She says there may also be a table set up out front, with one of her seniors handing out brochures and posters and talking to people about elder abuse.
Sometime over the course of the next year, Gardiner is also planning to put on an “It’s not right” presentation, which will go over the various signs of elder abuse and what can be done about it.