Over one million people in BC care for an adult relative, friend or neighbour in BC because of disease, disability or frailty due to aging. Most caregiving relationships are based on good intentions and are very rewarding. However, it can also be exhausting, and emotionally and physically demanding. There are key risk factors that may increase the potential for abuse of an older person including, but not limited to:
According to Statistics Canada, in 2008, between 4% and 10% of seniors experienced abuse. However, most practitioners would agree that abuse is more prevalent; seniors do not, or are not able, to report abuse through the proper channels.
Two non-profit organizations, the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support (BCCEAS) and the Family Caregivers of BC (FCBC), are working towards a solution by offering free webinars for family caregivers and health professionals.
Barb McLean, Executive Director of FCBC, is a tireless champion for family caregivers. “One of the most proactive things caregivers can do is enlist support from family, friends and community organizations.” She stresses, “Don’t go the caregiving distance alone – it’s bad for your own health. One of the smartest things a caregiver can do is tap into their personal networks and gain strength by asking for and accepting help.”
BCCEAS Workshop and Outreach Coordinator, Lin Chen, adds that family caregivers and the community at large benefit when information about the issue of elder abuse and appropriate resources are easily accessible. “Key resources such as local caregiver support groups and respite care options are more likely to be utilized when they are just a phone call or click away online. In turn, family caregivers and the people they care for feel more supported and empowered to respond to issues and concerns.
They may go on to share what they have learnt with their family and friends, which furthers the reach of this knowledge to the community at large.”
Family caregivers have a choice of taking part in workshops on the Internet. Family caregivers can expect to experience an increased awareness of elder abuse; be equipped with strategies to prevent and respond to abuse, and receive useful tips to stay healthy while caregiving.
You can find a recording of the webinar here.
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– Mike G., Nanaimo, BC
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