February 23, 2022 is Pink Shirt Day, a global movement to stand up to bullying and promote kindness. Bullying does not only affect kids and teens, it can happen to anyone, including older people.

For this reason, in 2020, CNPEA and A&O: Support Services for Older Adults launched the anti-bullying social media campaign #PinkShirtDayForAll to help raise awareness of bullying of older adults. This year, we are teaming up with Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario to keep the momentum going and celebrate Pink Shirt Day.

Bullying awareness and prevention activities have been traditionally aimed at younger generations, even though the behaviours occur across the life course. Bullying (also known as harassment) happens when a person or a group of people hurts, threatens, or scares a peer, either on purpose or unintentionally. Bullying is usually a repeated pattern of behaviours. People who experience bullying often have a difficult time defending themselves.

recent Canadian study by the Centre for Elder Research identified that

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By Kalie Dutchak
kalie dutchak headshot

My name is Kalie Dutchak, and I am currently in my fourth year of the Bachelor of Social Work program at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta. I am spending time at Sage Seniors Association for my final semester's practicum. I am primarily working at the safe house shelter for older adults but am also participating in and learning about some of the other programming that Sage has to offer. One group I am co-facilitating is the weekly coffee group for older adults, in which a small group gathers over a cup of coffee to connect through conversation. Thanks to my supervisor, Michele Markham, I have been learning a lot and have also been connected to the CNPEA. 

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By Lori Mars, JD
Reposted with permission from the National Center on Elder Abuse (US).

Three years ago, as 86-year-old Evelyn was cooking dinner for herself and her 60-year-old son, Manny, who lived in the apartment next door, the pair began to argue about a subject neither can now recall. Though the origins of the disagreement are unclear, the events that followed have been unforgettable. The quarrel quickly devolved into a physical altercation, with Manny dragging his mother to her bedroom, ramming her head into her mattress, and threatening to kill her. While Evelyn gasped for air, Manny placed a pillow on his mother’s head, forcing her face back into the bed, before releasing his hold on the breathless woman and returning to his apartment. One hour later, Manny, who has a long history of mental illness, returned, banging on the door and demanding entry. Fearing for her safety, Evelyn called police and Manny was arrested.

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How we think about aging today will define our future. When we let ageism shape our thoughts, behaviours and policies, we harm older Canadians today, and we also impact the lives that we hope to live as we age.

Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario, in collaboration with CNPEA and the Center for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children (CREVAWC), developed two short animated videos to encourage people of all ages to respect and defend the rights of older adults, and to highlight the power of collaboration when supporting older adult victims of abuse.

The first video, The Future You, encourages Canadians to recognize ageism, and to think about the kind of future we want. We hope it will empower Canadians to stand up for seniors' rights, and to push back against ageist prejudice and discrimination.

The second video, Silence Is Not Golden, is a reminder that ageism can easily lead to mistreatment. The video aims to dispel myths associated with victimization and encourages victims and people at risk to seek support within their communities.

These videos are available in French and in English. They were funded by the Department of Justice Canada for Victims and Survivors of Crime Week 2021.


The Future You

 Silence Is Not Golden

By Krista James, Canadian Centre for Elder Law

seniorsadvocatebc_hiddenandinvisible_nov2021_cover.pngOn December 8, the BC Seniors Advocate released a systemic review of elder abuse and neglect in British Columbia. The report Hidden and Invisible indicates elder abuse is on the rise. It draws a parallel with child abuse, finding BC’s policy regime deficient partly due to the lack of a centralized elder abuse reporting line. Media coverage has emphasized this clarion call to develop a single point of contact for reporting elder abuse and neglect in BC.

The problem with this messaging is that older people are not children. Consequently, they are entitled to both privacy and respect for their decision-making autonomy. 

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