Statement by Minister Tina Mundy on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

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"Seniors provide one of the most significant influences in Prince Edward Island. They offer knowledge of the past that helps prepare us for the future, and teach our younger Islanders how to be productive members of caring communities.

"As minister of Family and Human Services and the minister responsible for seniors, I see each and every day the important roles that seniors play in our Island communities. They are leaders, entrepreneurs, volunteers, coaches, mentors, workers – and parents and grandparents on top of all that.

"It breaks my heart when I hear of cases of abuse within our senior population. The news is increasingly peppered with stories of elder abuse and while each story is unique, there is always someone who can prevent it from happening.

"As we acknowledge World Elder Abuse Awareness Day this week, here are four questions to ask yourself if you think a senior may be experiencing abuse:

"Why am I concerned? A “gut” feeling or instinct that something is different -- or a change in the person’s usual behavior – could be a warning sign of elder abuse. Use your judgment to determine whether you are seeing or hearing something that makes you feel concerned or call Adult Protection (Charlottetown 902-368-4790; Montague 902-838-0786; O’Leary 902-859-873; Souris 902-687-7096; Summerside 902-888-8440) for advice on the next steps to take.

"Is it abuse? The individual may be nervous about talking if the person who is abusing them is present, may make excuses for abusive behavior, tries to cover up bruises, or seems sad, withdrawn, lonely, and afraid. You may also notice your neighbour, friend, or family member stop attending events or church, someone suddenly moves in with them, or things around their house are missing.

"Do I need to act now? If you think your friend or neighbor is in danger, trust your instincts and call 9-1-1. If you’d like a third party to intervene, you can contact Adult Protection or your local police for a wellness check.

"How else can I help? Listen to the person and share information without being judgmental. Stay in contact – a regular friendly phone call or visit is a great way to stay connected. Pick a safe time for a private talk with them about your concerns. Encourage them to maintain contact with others and build their support network, and lend a helping hand as you are able.

"One of Prince Edward Island’s strengths is our interconnectedness and willingness to help one another. On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and every day, we must continue to work together to prevent elder abuse from happening anywhere on our Island."

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Media contact:
Lucas MacArthur
Family & Human Services

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