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Do you know where your parents are?

by Shari Graydon

The headline above could be the new and increasingly relevant twist on an old question. As Sherry Baker, Executive Director of the BC Association of Community Response Networks writes in the Vancouver Sun this week,

Ten per cent of Canada’s older adults will experience financial abuse before they die.

She goes on to note that the number of Canadians over the age of 85 has increased by 43% in the past decade and now that baby-boomers are hitting 65, that trend will grow. Current estimates are that half a million seniors in this country have experienced some kind of neglect or abuse.

Her organization is focused on bringing the issue “out of the shadows”, and the seed for her commentary was planted three months ago during an Informed Opinions workshop in Vancouver. Published earlier this week in the paper’s online edition, the piece painted a vivid picture of the vulnerable human beings at the centre of the phenomenon.

The advice offered by Daphne Bramham – Sun columnist and a volunteer mentor/editor with Informed Opinions – helped. After reviewing a preliminary draft, Daphne encouraged Sherry to sacrifice some of the statistical information in favour of a few stories about how elderly people are being affected. (Putting a human face to the problem you’re talking about is always a good strategy. Our interest in the lives of others is what makes People magazine such a big seller.)

You can learn more about the workshops here, and read Sherry’s published commentary here.

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