Awareness day shines light on elder abuse


June 15 marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), a day dedicated to increasing awareness and knowledge of elder abuse, through conversation and information sharing.

On the Sunshine Coast, social, community and health service organizations, government agencies, community-minded individuals, local business and seniors have come together to form a Community Response Network (CRN). The Sunshine Coast’s CRN can provide informational workshops to members of the community to build awareness, help workers in the community recognize the signs of abuse and identify those on the Sunshine Coast who are able to take action.

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April Struthers, regional mentor for the CRN Association and local resident, said the Sunshine Coast’s CRN plans to highlight the need for prevention activities that allow seniors in the community to live in safety and dignity. To contact the CRN, email

One of the most common forms of elder abuse is financial, which occurs when there is a manipulation, exploitation or misuse of an elder’s money or assets. Sunshine Coast Credit Union invites the community to drop in to one of their branches in Sechelt, Gibsons and Pender Harbour on June 15 to pick up resources that can help people recognize and prevent this type of abuse. Links to resources will also be available through their website at

Seniors Planning Table coordinator Alison Leaney agrees: “We are looking at ways for our communities to become even more age-friendly, a place where everyone feels safe, valued and healthy. Financial institutions have a key role to play when it comes to financial health. Similar to our personal health, prevention is so important. The credit union currently supports the Planning Table, a program of the Resource Centre, through funding that enables us to increase our presence in the community. Their participation in raising awareness of elder financial abuse supports our work in the community even further.”

“There is a large senior population here on the Sunshine Coast, which is also reflected in our own membership,” commented Shelley McDade, CEO, Sunshine Coast Credit Union. “We want to be part of increasing awareness and conversations around this issue so we can support our members in protecting their assets.”

In addition to increasing public awareness, the credit union is committed to investing in their employees’ learning and development around this topic as well. “All 85 employees will have completed a course by November of this year so that we are best equipped to recognize financial abuse as well as assist senior members with concerns they may have about their financial well-being. We view this as yet another tool in our kit that allows us to enrich our members’ lives through proactive, personalized service.”

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