All of us know elder persons. Most of us have elder relatives – moms, dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Many of us have elder neighbors. In many cases, the elders we know are especially dear people to us. Yet most of us are not very aware that our growing senior population is a target population for abuse. Often we aren’t aware of it for two major reasons: It is both hidden and under-reported. Abusers both hide their behaviors from others and threaten and intimidate their victims into silence.
In 2006 the United Nations officially proclaimed June 15 as “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day”. The Ministry of Health reports that as many as 10 per centof B.C. seniors will experience some form of abuse in their later years. Even in small communities like ours, these figures are likely accurate.
This Sunday, June 16, Lower Similkameen residents of all ages are invited to a noon-time event to raise our community awareness of senior victimization – of the forms it takes and of how we can spot it and respond to it in positive ways. Hosted by our Keremeos Senior Center, the hour-long program is provided by PVPP – our valley’s Proactive Violence Prevention Project. Representatives of area service agencies will also be present to respond to questions following this practical and informative presentation.
Father’s Day is an appropriate time to give our attention to this crucial issue that lies hidden around us, for fathers and grand-dads – along with their own close friends – are among the growing numbers of victims. Your presence will be a way of showing your care for our senior friends and citizens. Dads, bring your families along with you (and then let them take you out to a fine dinner, afterwards).
Opening its doors to us at 11:30 a.m., the local Senior Center will be serving hot dogs and beverages, preceding the noon presentation, for your pleasure and convenience.
It’s an ideal time for Sunday morning worshippers to drop in right after church, grab a bite, and show their declared concern for the wellbeing of our older friends and neighbors. Or if you’re planning a day-time event with dad, start it out this way, and be off by 1 or 1:30 p.m. to continue your Fathers Day celebration.
The Senior Center is right downtown, at 421 Seventh Avenue (“Main Street”). PVPP is a grass-roots, broad-community Project endorsed by over thirty local organizations, agencies, and businesses. It is administered by Lower Similkameen Community Services, which provides an umbrella of services and support to our community, including several senior and low-cost housing venues. Visit their website for a complete description of their services: www.lscss.com