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On June 15th, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Canadian Association for Community Living announced a project to address the issue of abuse against older people with disabilities and Deaf people, that will have a national reach and a neighbourhood-level impact.
The Preventing and Responding to Elder Abuse in the Lives of People with Disabilities and Deaf People project—being carried out in partnership with the Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society (IRIS), and the DisAbled Women’s Network (DAWN)/ Réseau d'action de femmes handicapées (RAFH), with generous support from the New Horizons for Seniors Program at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada—will take place in 13 pilot communities, one in each province and territory.
Like seniors, an increased dependency on others for primary care and financial support makes people with disabilities more vulnerable to abuse. An aging Canadian population and increasing life expectancies for people with disabilities and Deaf people will create a wide range of housing, legal, financial, care giving, health care, transportation, community support and access issues, further depleting existing social resources. The growing number of older Canadians, combined with already constrained social and health resources, means that communities need to know how to help themselves prevent and respond to the elder abuse.
The Preventing and Responding to Elder Abuse in the Lives of People with Disabilities and Deaf People project will bring together local groups of older people with disabilities and Deaf seniors with the health, disability, justice, seniors and other social services. Together, these local groups—with support from the national team at CACL, DAWN-RAFH Canada and IRIS—will help to create in their communities the knowledge, tools, resources, and capacity to include, support, and value all their citizens. The capacity building approach will create ownership and commitment at the community level and by establishing local infrastructure to continue to address disability issues, will put the capability for significant change in the hands of key stakeholders with a new commitment to creating better, safer communities for everyone.
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