FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued today by Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch in observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15:

With the increasing percentage of seniors in our population, the safety and wellbeing of seniors should be a priority, not only for governments, but for all members of our society. This makes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day a more pertinent time of reflection in these days.

Elder abuse is a serious issue and comes in many forms. It can be physical, financial, emotional, verbal, or in the form of neglect. It is important we take the initiative to keep our loved ones safe. This day gives us an opportunity to discuss how to do that.

Seniors play a vital role in our society. They are contributing so much in time and dedication to help and support others. But most importantly they share with us important life lessons and wisdom. It is our role to keep them safe.

All New Brunswickers are encouraged to report elder abuse if they encounter it. All forms of abuse are wrong and must be stopped. Help is available through the Department of Social Development, the police, and Crime Stoppers. Adult Protection referrals can be made 24 hours a day seven days a week by calling Social Development at 1-833-733-7835.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was first established in June 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. It was later officially recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2011.

More information about elder abuse is available online.