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Interview with Jemma Templeton, YWCA Metro Vancouver CNPEA: Tell us a little bit about your project.

Jemma: On May 4, 2012, YWCA Metro-Vancouver was chosen to undertake a new project called Community Action on Elder Abuse (CAEA), funded by The New Horizons for Seniors Program. This is a 3-year initiative that runs from 2012-2015. The goal of CAEA is to develop culturally-appropriate training and resource materials for front-line/volunteer service providers whose clients include seniors.The project has created a train-the-trainer awareness course on taking action against abuse of older adults that supports front-line staff and volunteers to identify potential abuse and/or neglect of seniors. The project aims to enable front-line staff and volunteers to response appropriately to concerns about abuse and neglect by supporting them to communicate effectively and direct seniors to culturally appropriate resources.

CNPEA: How did the YWCA develop the Community Action on Elder Abuse Project?

Jemma: As an organization reaching so many individuals in the community, we felt compelled to utilize our position to address the critical issue of elder abuse, and explore relevant strategies we can utilize through our networks. A Seniors Advisory Committee guides the project. The development of materials has been based on data from three senior led focus groups with First Nations seniors, seniors who work with seniors and a cross-cultural seniors group. The program itself is very unique and based on adult education methodology. It features interactive case studies, role-play, small group work and individual work. The selected train-the-trainer course candidates have the opportunity to enhance their facilitation skills, as the training program requires each facilitator to deliver an elder abuse awareness presentation to the training group, using the slides that are a part of the CAEA Power Point presentation. So by the time they have completed the course, in essence, they are taking ownership of the workshop that they will deliver to their front-line staff/volunteers when their certified train-the-trainer course is completed.

CNPEA: What do you find most interesting about this project?

Jemma: Being a national project, the Project Coordinator and I have had the opportunity to travel across Canada to deliver the train-the-trainer course. It is a privilege to meet the wonderful staff supporting and advocating for the needs of older adults. It is exciting to provide a new training opportunity that is reaching communities that are diverse, multicultural, rural and remote! In last year’s program, we had participants travel all the way from Haida Gwaii to Prince George, Dawson Creek to Burnaby to receive training that they delivered to front-line staff/volunteers in Bella Coola. We have had an abundance of positive support for our train-the-trainer course throughout Canada.

CNPEA: What methods have you used to engage communities? Could you recommend any successful community engagement strategies?

Jemma: It is essential to go out and meet in person the staff and volunteers who support older adults, and to connect with the seniors who access those essential services. For me, this meant researching events, getting out from behind the desk and spending time in the community. This makes such a big difference: when you are actually in the community you are able to find out who’s doing what, brainstorm solutions together and create informed, good quality projects.

CNPEA: What is important for people to know about your project?

Jemma: CAEA is in its final year and I strongly encourage all service providers (managers, supervisors, coordinators) to take advantage of this free training opportunity while it is still available. This project will strengthen the capacity of front-line staff/volunteers at community organizations in Metro Vancouver, key regions of British Columbia and in selected communities across Canada to detect and address elder abuse and/or neglect. Our website also features a resources section with our project materials that are available to access for educations purposes: YWCA Community Action on Elder Abuse Facilitators Guidebook; a brochure in 7 languages; and a standard policy and procedures template on responding to abuse of older adults—free to download. To register for a training event or get more information on the CAEA project go to:


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