Japanese Canadian Community to Build Awareness to Stop Elder Abuse!

Elderly-HandsTonari Gumi as the lead organization in partnership with the Greater Vancouver JCCA, the Nikkei Senior Health Care & Housing Society and the Steveston Japanese Canadian Cultural Center has recently been awarded a major grant to help reduce elder abuse.  Tonari Gumi will be spearheading a three part program over the next year to reduce elder abuse within the Japanese Canadian Community by

1) raising awareness

2) training seniors and caregivers to recognize and respond, and

3) building community collaboration to eliminate elder abuse.

>> Awareness Raising:  Under this project, a part-time bilingual coordinator, together with a team of volunteers, would translate and adapt existing prevention and awareness information on elder abuse and disseminate this information in both English and Japanese through posters, web pages, the local Japanese language press and media.  A local drama group consisting of Japanese seniors would also be recruited to produce short skits which reveal different aspects of elder abuse and would be understandable for all generations.  Using these skits, a series of awareness raising seminars will be conducted first in Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond and other communities in the Lower Mainland and subsequently elsewhere in B.C. in cooperation with our partner organizations.

>> Training to Recognize and Respond to Elder Abuse:  The part-time coordinator would also organize a series of bilingual workshops in Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond and other communities to train seniors, caregivers and community leaders to recognize when elder abuse is taking place and how to take action to protect seniors from such abuse.  Training expertise would be drawn from the local community (police, financial institutions, medical and psychological professionals) to deal with financial, physical and psychological aspects of elder abuse.

>> Build Community Collaboration:  Together with our partner organizations within the community, a team would be developed to work from Tonari Gumi and serve as a referral point for individuals seeking assistance with respect to elder abuse.  For the duration of the project period, a hotline telephone number would be established where individuals could seek advice in Japanese.  Objective would be to continue to maintain this hotline after the end of the project period.  Seminar and workshop material would also be made available to other Japanese Canadian communities in B.C. and throughout Canada to assist them in raising awareness regarding elder abuse.

Individuals who are interested in the issue of elder abuse within the community should contact Tonari Gumi to express their views.  In addition, a staffing call will be coming out shortly to recruit a dynamic individual to become our part-time bilingual coordinator.  Will be reporting again to keep everyone informed.