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By Allison Jones

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The forum, held at Simon Fraser University (SFU) downtown Vancouver on February 18,  was well attended by LGBTQ seniors, health care providers, academics, students and other interested participants. It was the second in a series of five town hall meetings on elder abuse, hosted by Dr Gloria Gutman,  presented in partnership by the Simon Fraser Gerontology Research Centre, and Quirk-e (the Queer elder riting kollective) and was held at .

Dr. Gutman gave opening remarks, introducing the audience to the reality of abuse in the LGBTQ communities and to the forms it takes, whether it be financial, physical, psychological or emotional. In some case, elder abuse presents itself as self-neglect, when an older person has no one to look after them, they may begin to neglect themselves to the point where it is considered a form of self-abuse.

Dr. Gutman received a grant from BC’s Ministry of Health to work with Quirk-e. Quirk-e members worked with Surrey Youth for a Change to write, act, direct and film three shorts (each no more than three minutes in length) with different scenarios depicting elder abuse. The Vancouver audience, which included staff from LGBTQ serving organizations, was enthusiastic. The films, although dealing with difficult topics, were refreshing in that they not only represented LGBTQ seniors, they were acted by LGBTQ seniors themselves. The shorts depicted abuse as complex and situational, with many different tensions intersecting, including family loyalty, internalized homophobia, control and gender conformity, and physical and psychological violence. 

The town hall featured a number of Senior and LGBTQ senior-serving organizations including THiP, Vancouver Coastal Re-Act, SAIL (Seniors Abuse & Information Line), PRISM, QMUNITY, Alzheimer’s Society of BC, the Office of the Public Trustee and Dr.Gutman herself commenting on how LGBTQ elder abuse affects the LGBTQ seniors community. These town halls will happen or have already happened in Surrey, Prince George, Kelowna and on Vancouver Island. The group working on the grant has designed a number of LGBTQ elder abuse posters to raise the issue’s visibility and include information on how to report and document elder abuse when it occurs with LGBTQ seniors.

Please contact the Seniors Coordinator at QMUNITY  or 604-684-8449 for more information.

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Guest Blogger: Deborah Marshall

          Quite often you turn on the news and you hear that the world is getting older and our population is aging. The media portrays the aging population as a negative thing, when in reality, older adults are often involved contributors, helping other older adults, working, volunteering and generally infusing money back into the economy. Getting older has many positives associated with it: having more time to volunteer, to travel, learn, visit and help family members.  Getting older does not necessarily mean becoming unwell, and, for many Canadians, their best years will be in the ‘golden age’.  Unfortunately, some seniors may not be as healthy in later years.  Frailties can and do develop with the aging process, and these frailties, combined with putting too much trust in the wrong person, may lead to elders becoming vulnerable to abuse.

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The Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect routinely releases articles that are free to access without a journal membership. Of interest, the latest open access edition, Current Matters in Aging features:

  • Elder Abuse in Portugal: Findings From the First National Prevalence Study (Gil et al., 2015)
  • The Impact of Elder Abuse Education on Young Adults (Hayslip, Reinberg & Williams, 2015)

As well, there are a number of elder abuse related topics including grandparenting, healthy living, technology and educational matters in gerontology.
To access the articles visit Current Matters in Aging and select the article you wish to read.
All articles are available until November 15, 2016.

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           In 2015, Statistics Canada announced that the percentage of people over the age of 65 (16.1%) now exceeds the percentage of those under the age of 15 (16%).  While the difference is almost insignificant at this time, the gap is expected to increase substantially. By 2030, it is estimated that the percentage of people over 65 will reach 25% while the percentage of people under 15 will remain at 16%1. In order to accommodate a demographic shift of this magnitude, change will be required at multiple levels. 

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By Erin Fleury and Heather Campbell

Surveillance in care homes is an unsettled area in law. This blog post looks at some recent legal developments in Canada and internationally.


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