The main focus of our Elder Abuse Resource and Supports (EARS) ministry is to support seniors who are victims of low- to medium-level abuse or neglect before police intervention is required.
This ministry, which is supported by our annual Sign of Hope appeal, helps seniors 65 years of age or older to identify and overcome the different types of abuse they may experience from friends or loved ones. That abuse can vary from psychological, to physical, to financial.
One such senior who utilized our EARS ministry is Susan, whose bank account was being drained by one of her children. Our team at EARS provided her with information on assertiveness and boundary setting, and helped Susan receive Alberta Works funding for food and rent for the month. She also regained control of her finances by changing her bank account information.
In addition to people like Susan contacting us directly, EARS also accepts referrals. In January, the local Primary Care Network put us in touch with an immigrant who only speaks Hindi. The social worker was concerned that this senior was being financially taken advantage of by her family. There was also concern that she was forced to care for her family’s home and her grandchildren, which was believed to be affecting her emotional and physical health.
While the senior felt unable to talk about her concerns and maltreatment due to cultural restrictions, the EARS team was able to access a newly forged relationship with the Multicultural Women’s Seniors Services Association. That organization accepted the referral and worked with the senior to provide culturally competent elder abuse support.
She was very thankful for all of the support, as she is back to a place of stability in her life.