June 15 marked World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).
WEAAD represents the one day in the year when the whole world voices its opposition to the abuse and suffering inflicted to some of our elder generations.
The Community Response Networks from all over B.C. take part in this important day.
It’s an opportunity to bring awareness to the general community about adult abuse neglect, and self-neglect.
This year was different.
Without having gatherings or events, a lot of communities weren’t able to participate.
The Beaver Valley Community Response Network of volunteers, decided this year was the most important year to raise awareness.
The community group chose to set up a booth on the side of the highway in Montrose, to give the community a place to drop in to pick up materials and resources and to show that we are here to help.
The Community Response Network (CRN) is made up of a diverse group of concerned community members, community agencies, professionals and others who come together to create a coordinated response to abuse, neglect and self-neglect in vulnerable adults.
History shows that in a natural disaster or crisis, elderly people are at high risk.
Also, if abuse is happening before a natural disaster or crisis, the abuse tends to become worse.
Since mid-March when COVID-19 hit our province, our team of volunteers has worked countless hours, making calls to check on the seniors.
The CRN members and volunteers of the Columbia Seniors Wellness Society, formed a group of “Phone Angels.”
The Phone Angels have made over 150 phone calls and continue to do so every week and a half.
We are very fortunate to live in the community we do, we found most of the seniors to have their basic needs met, groceries and medications.
The neighbors, friends and family members stepped up to make sure that they had the supplies that were needed.
What we found however, was that many were extremely isolated and lonely.
The Phone Angel Project has been a very important one, not only did they reach out to help with the loneliness, but they were able to communicate important information and resources to them during this difficult time.
Another project that has come out of this, the volunteer group has collaboratively started a newsletter.
The newsletter is full of local resources for the seniors such as, education, updates on local business hours, and new protocols to follow.
The group found that unless the senior was on social media, they were not aware of the changes.
The group is looking for some local funding to help with the printing and postage, and they also welcome any other local businesses and resources to reach out with their updates and changes.
Together we can help fill the gaps.
Jayme Fowler, Beaver Valley CRN Coordinator.