June 4th, 2020
For Immediate Release


Learn the Signs – Break the Silence

Elder Abuse is a growing concern around the world.  So much so that in 2006, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 15th of every year as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).

In its declaration, the United Nations stated that this important day ‘represents the one day in the year when the whole world voices its opposition to the abuse and suffering inflicted on some of our older generations”.

Social isolation has been identified as one of the leading contributing factors to an increase in risk. In this unprecedented time of social isolation and stress throughout the world due to COVID-19, abuse incidents are higher, domestic violence has increased dramatically and crises line calls are at an all time high. Approximately 10% of all senior adults will experience some form of physical, emotional, financial or sexual abuse.  It is also believed that abuse of seniors is significantly under reported.  Tragically, many will suffer in silence, in fear or in shame.

“In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), we are pleased to announce that Seniors Services Society in partnership with the BC Association of Community Response Networks (BC CRN) has formed the New Westminster Community Response Network (CRN),” said Alison Silgardo, CEO of Seniors Services Society of BC. “The New Westminster CRN will work with community members to build awareness in our community concerning older adult abuse issues and the need for prevention activities. We will work to educate workers, friends, family members and neighbours on how to recognize the signs of abuse and neglect and where to go for support”

“The City of New Westminster along with cities throughout the world, acknowledges June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) and offers its support for older adults, their safety, their happiness & well being,” said City of New Westminster Mayor Jonathon Cote. “We all deserve to lead happy and healthy lives free from abuse. By working together, we can build better community supports and services for older adults to create meaningful and lasting local changes.”

MP Peter Julian stated that, “far too many seniors are struggling during COVID 19 pandemic, and it’s time for the federal government to make seniors a real priority in Canada.  It is unacceptable that over 80% of the COVID 19 deaths occurred in long term care facilities.  We must develop a national standardization of long-term care to put people before profit.  Coupled with the challenges of the rising cost for essential items and the uncertainty about income benefit programs, seniors are being left out of government’s economic response to the pandemic crises.  Besides worrying about making ends meet, many seniors suffer a great deal of fear, isolation and anxiety.  To that end, I am pleased to see the establishment of the New Westminster Community Response Network.  Every senior deserves to age with dignity & respect.  On behalf of the Parliament of Canada, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the important work that Seniors Services Society does for New Westminster and communities across British Columbia.”

“New Westminster is incredibly fortunate to have the Seniors Services Society in our community,” said Judy Darcy, MLA New Westminster.  “Their advocacy and outreach programs have helped to tackle many challenges such as housing and mental healthcare and give many seniors access to their neighbourhoods.  Our BC Government is very proud to support their wonderful work which is more critical than ever due to the COVID 19 pandemic that has kept us physically distant.  I am really excited to hear that the Seniors Services Society is partnering with the BC Association for Community Response Networks to create the New Westminster CRN.  On behalf of a grateful community and a grateful province, thank you for your leadership.  I look forward to continuing to work with you and ensure no seniors in New Westminster suffer from social isolation or abuse.”

On June 15th, the Anvil Centre will glow purple, the Colour associated with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). We invite everyone to join us in observing this special day by wearing something purple to show that we are all united in the support of preventing Elder Abuse.”

About Seniors Services Society of BC: Seniors Services Society of BC provides local and provincial programs and services to support vulnerable older adults to live as independently as possible.


Media Contact:
Alison Silgardo, CEO Seniors Services Society of BC
Mobile: 778-798-0534

Notes to the Editor:
Where to Get Help?
If you suspect a senior is being abused, are a senior who is experiencing abuse or are seeking information about elder abuse:
Call 911, if you or someone you know is in immediate danger.
For non-emergency situations, referrals, information, contact:
Seniors Abuse & Information Line (SAIL) 604-437-1940 or
VictimLinkBC: Toll Free 1-800-563-0808
BC Association of Community Response Networks (BC CRN):