Abuse at any age is a tragedy, leaving pain and suffering in its wake. Older citizens who face abuse and neglect suffer the added indignity of invisibility – elder abuse is hardly recognized and barely addressed.
As the world’s population ages, and care needs become more complex, elder abuse could become even more prevalent and damaging.
To help raise the alarm, the UN has declared June 15 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
OPSEU — which represents tens of thousands of frontline workers who help care for senior citizens in their homes, in long-term care facilities, in hospitals and across the public service sector — is calling on governments at all levels to act.
A good first step in Ontario would be to guarantee that seniors living in long-term care homes receive a minimum of four hours of hands-on care each day. It is time for the Ford government to act on this, and pass the Time to Care Act.
Governments must also commit to strong public elder care.
Privatized elder care has a long history of corner-cutting, short-staffing, and lack of accountability that can set the scene for chronic and systemic elder abuse and neglect.
Public elder care, on the other hand, puts the priority on people, not profits.
The senior citizens of this country and this province helped build the society around us. We owe them nothing less than safe, respectful care and security as we follow in their footsteps.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer