Victim Services of Brant, in partnership with the Brant Elder Abuse Awareness Committee, has received a 2 year Vital and Safer Communities Grant from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services for a total of $68,950. Because the City of Brantford was disqualified from applying for the grant as a municipality, Victim Services did the heavy lift and was recognized for their efforts.
The primary partners who will be working on the implementation of the project with Victim Services of Brant are: The Brant County OPP; Nova Vita; The City of Brantford; Elder Abuse Ontario; and Comfort Keepers-In Home Senior Care. Each brings a different piece to the equation.
Victim Services of Brant and our partner agencies used the Brant Elder Abuse Prevention and Action Strategy developed by Safe Brantford to identify goals for the grant. The goals are to : to develop community response protocols to address elder abuse; to increase the capacity of service providers by increasing training opportunities and supporting internal development of policies and procedures related to elder abuse identification and response; and to empower and educate older adults on their rights, and how they can prevent and intervene in abuse situations.
Elder abuse and mistreatment is an often hidden, but very serious and growing problem. There are many forms of elder abuse: psychological, physical, sexual, financial, and neglect. Although, there are challenges to monitoring prevalence, North American studies suggest between 2 and 10 percent of seniors will experience some type of abuse or neglect each year. The City of Brantford and County of Brant have approximately 19,920 adults over the age of 65, therefore, we can estimate that between 400 and 2000 older adults have experienced or are experiencing elder abuse locally.
A key risk factor of elder abuse is isolation and loneliness. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health loneliness affects approximately 10% of older adults; that could translate to almost 2,000 older adults defined as socially isolated locally.
According to provincial population forecasts, 25%-30% of the population in the Brant Census Metropolitan Area (inclusive of the City of Brantford and County of Brant) will be older adults (age 65+) by 2041. Currently, that proportion sits at 17.2% in the City of Brantford. Given the increasing aging population, and the rates of abuse, it is imperative to be proactive in addressing the issue of elder abuse and neglect.
Some of the protective factors guarding against elder abuse include adequate social supports and good coordination of services; access to information on abuse; personal and supportive networks education about elder abuse; and family and professional awareness through effective training for caregivers (Ministry of Seniors Affairs). This project will support the Brant Elder Abuse Awareness Committee increase access to information on abuse; support better coordination of community services; and ensure effective trainings are in place for caregivers. The committee will also be a part of a community of practice supported by Elder Abuse Ontario.
Victim Services of Brant is thrilled to have received this grant and looks forward to working with the Brant Elder Abuse Awareness Committee and our grant partners in reaching our goals.