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Physical and emotional abuse of elders on the rise due to COVID-19 pandemic: supprt worker

Last Updated Jan 31, 2021 at 4:08 pm MDT

EDMONTON (CityNews) – The COVID-19 pandemic and the isolation that comes with it has been hard for people of all ages, especially for seniors who depend on family and caregivers for help.

And it seems for some, it has led to financial, physical and emotional abuse.

Since the start of the pandemic, there has been an increase in demand for senior supports in Alberta. And many of the support workers say they are seeing disturbing cases of elder abuse.

“We see neglect, we see some people living with a senior and not providing or contributing towards any financial support in the house, and just dependent on the senior,” said Gurjot Kaur from the Elder Abuse Resource and Supports program (EARS).

Elder abuse includes physical and emotional abuse, as well as neglect and financial exploitation.

According to EARS, Alberta has the second-highest rate of elder abuse in Canada. Each year, approximately 750,000 seniors fall victim.

“Not a lot of resources are present in the community and seniors are in high need right now,” said Kaur. “It’s important they know that there is someone still open and ready to help them.”

Kaur says many workers are worried about seniors who are scared to reach out when they need it most.

“We’re having challenges connecting with them if they are living with the alleged at home… they’re not able to have that private conversation.”

Kaur says everyone should keep an eye out for signs of elder abuse in their community and report if they suspect any such incidents.

Last year, EARS connected with and assisted 780 seniors in need.