Local Senior Task Force raises awareness on World Elder Abuse Day

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Members from the Senior Task Force, NENAS, and Urban Systems teamed up to host an event on World Elder Abuse Day to raise awareness and to help seniors protect themselves.

Wednesday’s event at the Legion is a part of this year’s micro-events. Last year, the task force, Urban Systems and the City of Fort St. John, began hosting micro-events as a way for seniors to get out and about, reintegrate back into society, and reconnect with community members.

The emcee Erika Froh, with NENAS, hopes to bring awareness to the meaning of the day and why it is necessary.

“We have a few organizations that are coming in to speak and to show defensive moves, and some healthy stretching and just bring awareness to scams, anything like that, that could happen to anybody, whether they’re an elder or not,” Froh explained.

She wants the residents to leave with “the knowledge to help themselves” and “how to protect themselves.”

During the event, members of the group say elder abuse can happen in many ways, including physically, psychologically and financially.

“They wanted to really promote that this is something that actually has to be done and should be done to protect the elders,” said Carol Paynter, an EAS officer and senior coordinator.

Sarah Ochitwa with Urban Systems says the City of Fort St. John employs them to conduct project management for the task force and facilitate the “micro-events.”

“[The events are] a response to social isolation in seniors due to COVID-19, so it’s still ongoing,” Ochitwa said.

Ochitwa said that the recently created task force is probably about 25 members strong, as there are multiple senior organizations or adjacent senior organizations involved.

More events are planned in July and August, including a bus trip to the Shepard’s Inn and the Fall Fair.

World Elder Abuse Day was recognized in June 2006.