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Tuesday September 15 2015 9 JUSTICE ELDER ABUSE TIRE NORTH LTD. HAY RIVER NT X0E 0R8 867 874-2686 TIRENORTHKINGLANDFORD.COM FOR ALL YOUR WINTER TIRE NEEDS Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 A non-studded winter tire that offers supreme driving comfort and safety. A new tire for drivers who require absolute driving comfort tangible fuel savings and non-studded winter tire technology with the best safety characteristics. BY CRAIG GILBERT Cigarettes cigarettes cigarettes. Money money money. The hopeless words of a NWT elder whose nancial barriers include members of her own family. They come around and ask for ciga- rettes money money money money just over and over again and if they dont get it she doesnt have it they get mad she said through an interpreter. In a jurisdiction where elder abuse is 25 times more common than the rest of Canada a new five-year strategy to make communities across the NWT safer for seniors 60 years or older who stand to account for 20 per cent of the population here by 2020. Revealed Sept. 10 at the NWT Seniors Society AGM in Fort Smith the report is the product of the NWT Network to Prevent Abuse of Older Adults a collection of 73 in- dividuals and agency members from govern- ment NGO First Nations and community organizations across the territory. All forms of abuse exist in the NWT but nancial abuse and neglect are the most common. The numbers are cold but the im- pact is 100 per cent human family violence against seniors jumped 14 per cent in Can- ada between 2009 and 2014 and the rate of seniors reporting abuse to police was 61 per 100000 persons. In the NWT that gure was 1543 per 100000. Among the about 600 seniors interviewed in 2015 two-thirds reported being abused nancially in the form of pension cheques being taken or the outright theft of cash and 53 per cent said they experienced a lack of care over- or underuse of medication and loneliness. Another 47 per cent described disrespect threats blaming or other emotional abuse while 43 per cent said they had endured yell- ing name-calling swearing or other verbal abuse. A third reported physical abuse in- cluding hitting beating and slapping 11 per cent reported being forced to have sex or being raped. Underpinning it all is the estimate that seven out of 10 incidents of elder abuse are never reported to police. According to the strategy 55 per cent of seniors are not aware of their right to live without abuse and more than half dont know how to protect them- selves or where to go for help. The executive director of the NWT Se- niors Society Barb Hood doesnt com- pletely buy the idea that elder abuse is several times higher north of the 60th parallel wondering whether increased awareness and reporting could be behind the statistic. I dont think its any worse here than in other parts of the world she said. Were fortunate to live in small communities where We have rsthand experience in seeing this growing Hood said. Its important to keep educating and training frontline staff. Theyre the ones who see it and feel some- times their hands are tied. The strategy taking aim at those sobering facts in order to make communities safer for seniors is fourfold involving public engage- ment education and training community responses and policy and legislation. We talked about this in 2011 and now its a reality Hood continued. We have tools we can use and workshops we can put on and the Health department has requested training for frontline staff. She said Health and Social Services Min- ister Glen Abernethy who was in Fort Smith for the 55 Friendly Games over the week- end is on-board. We have a minister who is interested in seeing this addressed in a couple of ways so I hope it will continue at the government level she said. The department has had an action plan for a bit now and theyre looking at it well be advising the minis- ter Im sure. A new strategy to make NWT safer for seniors people care for one another. More people are seeing it and there has been a tendency to not talk about it but it has been a focus of our organization for the last five years and the NWT Network has been working on it for 20. She said the societys seniors help line receives about two calls per month about abuse either from the senior or a concerned family member. PhotoCraigGilbert Members of the NWT Seniors Society held their AGM in Fort Smith on Sept. 10. Were fortunate to live in small communities where people care for one another. More people are seeing elder abuse and there has been a tendency to not talk about it. Barb Hood NWT Seniors Society