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Area seniors equipped to stop abuse

By June 23, 2022No Comments
Neil Harris, a health promotion facilitator with Alberta Health Services acted as the master of ceremonies at a Lloydminster Elder Abuse Prevention awareness breakfast at the Legacy Centre last Thursday in recognition of World Elder Abuse Day. Geoff Lee Meridian Source

 

Lloydminster seniors are up to speed on how to identify, report and prevent elder abuse.

About 150 seniors turned up at the Legacy Centre last Thursday for a free Food for a Thought breakfast presentation hosted by Lloydminster Elder Abuse Prevention (LEAP). 

LEAP member and MC Neil Harris says elder abuse locally is more prevalent than people think. 

“It’s often a hidden situation in families, so this creates more awareness with the concerns around elder abuse and what resources are available for people and where they can go to get help,” said Harris.

The event was held in partnership with Synergy Credit Union and Family and Community Support Services, 24 hours after World Elder Abuse Day recognition.

Financial abuse is one of the most common forms of senior abuse in Canada.

Organizers lined up presentations on different types of elder abuse including financial, emotional, sexual and neglect.

“The most talked about in Lloydminster would be fraud and financial, but there is a big stigma on other types of abuses like physical or medication abuses,” said community development coordinator, Amber Fast with the City of Lloydminster.

“It’s hard for a lot of seniors to stick up for themselves when they are in that situation. We want to reduce the stigma and show there are people in our community that are there to help.”

The Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA) in Regina estimates one in three people in Saskatchewan knows a senior who has been a victim of financial abuse.

“That high number tells us that seniors need to be aware of the many forms financial abuse can take and must exercise caution when involving someone in financial decisions,” said FCAA securities division executive director Dean Murrison in a news release.

The FCAA warns seniors are particularly vulnerable to financial exploitation by fraudsters or occasionally unethical family members.

The most common forms of elder financial abuse in Saskatchewan are family loans not being repaid, misuse of debit cards, credit cards, or online banking by family members or others with access.

Abuse can also result from seniors being pressured to give monetary gifts involuntarily or to sign documents they did not understand.

Fraud prevention in Lloydminster was the topic of a joint presentation by internal auditor Cheryl Kirzinger and privacy officer Heidi Miller from Synergy Credit Union.

“Seniors need to be very aware; there seems to be an escalation in the last few years focusing on vulnerable people, elders or people who are challenged in some way,” said Kirzinger.

“Seniors need to be very aware they are targets.”

Miller’s goal was to provide tips on how to ensure your private details are kept private and how to protect yourself from online scams and phone frauds.