08:50am Sunday 20 October 2019

U of C research combats elder abuse

Daniel Lai

Daniel Lai

The first project of its kind that will specifically explore the needs of ethno-cultural older adults with the goal of combating elder abuse and neglect was provided funding today by the Government of Canada. Daniel Lai, researcher from the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Social Work, is one of the key partners in this project.

“While it is often a taboo subject, elder abuse and neglect challenges the well-being of many immigrant and ethno-cultural minority seniors,” said Lai, associate dean of research and partnerships for the U of C’s Faculty of Social Work. “Even defining elder abuse and neglect is challenging among some cultural groups because it is often influenced by a person’s particular life experience and cultural background.”

The Government of Canada has approved funding for 16 projects through the Elder Abuse Awareness component of its New Horizons for Seniors Program. The honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State (Seniors), made the announcement today in Calgary.

“Prevention is the key to eliminating elder abuse,” said Minister of State Ablonczy. “That is why the Government of Canada is supporting non-profit organizations to develop awareness activities for seniors, their families and service providers. This project and the other 15 we are proud to announce today will bring us significantly closer to our goal of protecting seniors from abuse.”

According to Lai, his project will rely heavily on the input of ethnic immigrant elders to help find ways to promote awareness of elder abuse and neglect. These focus groups will be held in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Red Deer and Medicine Hat.

“With the knowledge we gain through this project, service providers and decision-makers can develop more proactive and culturally appropriate strategies to prevent elder abuse and neglect for the culturally diverse communities in Alberta,” said Lai.

The resulting resources will be disseminated to organizations and agencies working with immigrant older adults, ethno-cultural communities, and faith-based organizations.

Besides the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Social Work, partners in the project include the City of Calgary’s Seniors Services Division, the City of Lethbridge’s Community and Social Development, Medicine Hat Women’s Shelter Society, the City of Edmonton, Red Deer’s Golden Circle Senior Resource Centre, Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizens’ Association, the Alliance to End Violence and the Calgary Connecting Seniors Cultural Council.

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