Walk to show your support for abused seniors

BRAMPTON — Of the 150,000 seniors who live in Peel, it’s estimated at least 15,000 are dealing with elder abuse, yet, there are no housing units or shelters for them

It’s a situation Peel Elder Abuse Prevention Network (PEAPN) wants to change.

To that end, the organization has collaborated with the Canadian Association Of Retiring Persons (CARP), to host a Wellness Walk and Community Fair, Saturday, June 15 at the Flower City Seniors Centre, 8870 McLaughlin Rd. from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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Often, when a senior ends up at a hospital’s emergency room or the police station as a result of an escalation in the abuse, other than offering victims intermediary counselling, agencies serving the elderly have no other recourse available to them, explained Karen Sibal, program coordinator for PEAPN.

“We are trying to raise awareness and money through the walk so that we can provide more specialized and coordinated services,” Sibal explained. “We are dealing with crisis here because we really have no place in Peel region where abused seniors can go. The idea is to create an emergency housing program for seniors so that they can be in a safe place with affordable medical and counselling supports.”

Peel Elder Abuse Prevention Network , a collaboration between 50 agencies, has been in talks with Supportive Housing In Peel (SHIP) and private retirement homes in the region seeking their help with funding for a proposed 72-hour emergency housing program.

Once the 72-hour emergency housing program is in place, abused seniors in crisis will have a temporary place to stay for up to 72 hours, either in a retirement home or supportive housing unit, until a more permanent housing option can be found for them.

The issue of elder abuse is growing exponentially, says Sibal. A hotline set-up by the Peel Elder Support Program in 2007 has received more than 1,200 calls to date.

The Canadian Association of Retired Persons, which boasts of some 350,000 members in Canada, will be working towards raising awareness about elder abuse by advocating for the interests, rights and quality of life for older Canadians, explained Murray Etherington, chair of CARP’s Mississauga chapter.

“We are raising at least $10,000 to provide more coordinated community services to help victims of elder abuse,” said Murray Etherington, chair of CARP’s Mississauga chapter. “We’re fortunate to have our event on a Saturday this year, so everyone can join in the festivities with their families.”


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