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Coquitlam RCMP webinar tackles issues of elder abuse in the Tri-Cities

Elder abuse could affect as many as 2,500 Tri-City older adults based on estimates of rates amongst the Canadian population; local groups are providing information and resources to prevent abuse and neglect of older people
Support for seniors
With Elder Abuse Awareness Day coming up, local groups, including the Coquitlam RCMP are educating the public about this difficult topic.

A seniors advocacy organization is trying to raise awareness about abuse of older adults — a phenomenon that may be increasing due to isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elder abuse could affect as many as 2,500 Tri-City older adults based on estimates of rates amongst the Canadian population, and Ken Kuhn says it’s time for action.

A mentor with the BC Association of Community Response Networks, and the coordinator of the Tri-Cities Seniors' Action Society, Kuhn says people need to do more about the abuse of older adults.

“The basic human rights of older Canadians are challenged and undercut every day and, tragically, this has never been more true than over the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic,” explained Kuhn to Tri-City News.

“It’s estimated that seven to 10% of older Canadians are victims of elder abuse.”

The scale of the problem is staggering, according to the World Health Organization, which reports that 15.7% of people (approximately one in six) aged 60 years and older were subjected to some form of abuse. As well, the WHO reports:  

• Rates of elder abuse are high in institutions such as nursing homes and long-term care facilities, with two in three staff reporting that they have committed abuse in the past year


• Rates of abuse have increased dramatically during the COVID pandemic

• Only one in 24 cases of elder abuse is reported, in part because older people are often afraid to report cases of abuse to family, friends, or to the authorities

Kuhn's group, which provides coordinated community responses to adults experiencing abuse, neglect and self-neglect, says efforts need to be made to understand why abuse of older adults happens, how to identify it and prevent it.

To that end, a webinar is being held on Tuesday, June 15 – Elder Abuse Awareness Day – to inform people about the topic.

Kuhn will be speaking on the topic of elder abuse along with Leanne Lange, Fraser Health manager with the Adult Protection Program; Justin Lee, volunteer with Seniors First BC, and members of the Coquitlam RCMP Community Response Team.


The webinar is organized by Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam community police stations as part of their safety series.

The webinar takes place from 12 to 1 p.m. on June 15, and registration is available online via Eventbrite

“It is important that people deal with any abuses they face and get help,” said Kuhn, who is also a retired School District 43 teacher.

In addition to the webinar, the Tri-Cities Community Response Network will host a drive-by on June 15 at Lafarge Lake park parking lot (Town Centre Park, Coquitlam) from 1 to 3 p.m. 

Volunteers will hand out free special handbags with free materials to Tri-Cities Seniors' Action Society members or those who drop off their new membership forms. 

Other adults who are not members are also welcome to all the free materials, according to Kuhn.


How to get help:

• Seniors who are in immediate danger should call 9-1-1

• Seniors Abuse and Information Line (SAIL) at 604-437-1940

• BC211 Help Line Services: or call or text 2-1-1 (Counselling, abuses, addiction, and many other services for seniors)