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Katelyn is our first Grade 8 guest blogger. She sent us a post about her take on Elder Abuse, ageism, what kids and elders have in common and how youth can get involved in building awareness.

When you think of elder abuse, the word abuse might set off the thought of physical harm. But really, when it comes to elder abuse, it’s also financial abuse and trust abuse. As a teenager I see elder abuse as a form of bullying. In middle school, bullying can be spreading rumours and breaking the trust of your friends for the fun of being mean or to become more popular. In a very rare cases, bullying can be physical - for example, pushing people into lockers with force. These things also happen to elders in a different context. The only thing I can’t compare to my experiences in middle school, is financial elder abuse.

Financial abuse is the most common form of elder abuse in Canada. Financial abuse refers to theft or exploitation of a person’s money, property, or assets.” 1

Imagine you are walking down the street with your best friend, and she takes you to the bank because you don’t know how to work the ATM. Now imagine you turn around for a moment and your friend takes money out of your account and puts it into hers. Now imagine you were 70 years old and this happened. How would that make you feel? How could you fix this problem? Would you even know it happened?

ElderAbuse

The elderly have been through the same experiences  you have, to a certain extent. There weren’t iPhones or Macbooks in their youth, but there were bullies. The elderly are as smart as you and learned almost everything you did. Just because they are older doesn’t mean they should be treated any differently than you and me, but they should be respected.

I interviewed a girl at my school and I asked her, “What is elder abuse?” and she replied, “I’m not sure. Abuse of the elderly? Poor treatment or discrimination because of their age?”. Then I asked her “ What else do you know about elder abuse? ” and her response was “Literally nothing. I haven’t been exposed to the subject yet.”

Clearly elder abuse is something not many kids know about and it shouldn't be that way. We need to make people, not just kids, but everyone, aware of elder abuse.
If you aren’t aware, you can’t make a difference. Be a help and be aware.

1- Elder Abuse: It's Time to Face the Reality." Government of Canada. Web. 5 Apr. 2016.



About the author:
Katelyn Devereaux is a Grade 8 student at Bishop Strachan School in Toronto, Ontario.  Some of her interests include visual arts, dance, math, science, and sports. She enjoys nature and spending time with her family and is also very big on equality rights and justice.

 

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