The number is staggering when you look at it. And then when you realize what it represents, you well could shake your head and ask the age-old question: why?
Why were there 23,000 reported cases of abuse of elderly people in Alberta?
Twenty-three thousand people. That’s almost the population of Leduc.
Why is this happening?
There should never be such a day, really. But, perhaps — and hopefully — it might encourage others who could very well be suffering in silence the chance to come forward and tell their story.
Elder abuse. Why does it happen?
Senior citizens were the doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, planners, school bus drivers and people who did every other job to help build the communities we live in. They have paved the way for future generations in our city, province and country.
They have earned the fundamental right to enjoy their golden years. They should not have to worry about their well-being.
Yet the number of senior citizens being abused in Alberta is both alarming and disturbing.
What does that say about how we respect people who were also pioneers?
Does it say they can be trampled on at will?
Does it say, given their age, they no longer matter?
Does it say they no longer have any voice of reason?
And here’s the one that really concerns me: are they being taken advantage of?
Many of these cases — like the one Dave wrote in his story — are from family members. An Alberta Health website suggests 25 per cent of abusers are family members.
And while we must respect other people’s business, we cannot — and should not — turn a blind eye.
We need to collectively look out for our neighbor’s safety. That’s one of the privileges we have and share as community members.
When it comes to senior citizens being abused, though, we need to start asking some serious questions.
Please take part in the poll at the bottom of this blog to give your feedback.
We have to start addressing the issues now. As Dave’s story also points out, we have an aging population growing.
A genuine fear is there could be more cases reported in the future.
We cannot let that happen.
But first things first.
If you are a victim of elder abuse, please contact someone for help. You are not alone, and you do not, under any circumstances, deserve this.
In Edmonton call 780-454-8888.
Not everyone can speak for himself or herself. You can help them.Or, if you know of someone who is being abused, but you don’t know if you should do something I encourage you to speak.
We can’t answer why elder abuse has touched 23,000 people. Moreover, we can’t quickly remedy the issue with a band-aid.
We need to make elder abuse a part of our every day conversation to understand and comprehend it, rather than hoping, somehow, it will go away.
Then, and only then, can we try to answer why.