Experts: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day | June 15

Published: 12 June 2020

The World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an official United Nations International Day acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. Since 2006, communities throughout the country and around the world have honoured this day to raise the visibility of elder abuse by organizing events to share information and promote resources and services that can help increase seniors’ safety and well-being. (CNPEA)

Here are some experts from McGill University that can provide comment on this issue:

Susan Mintzberg, PhD Candidate, School of Social Work

As a society, we have regularly turned a blind eye on stigmatized populations such as seniors or those living with mental illness. Consequently, medical specialties such as geriatrics and psychiatry have been grossly underfinanced and lack the support needed to properly care for some of our most vulnerable citizens. As a result, family caregivers have become essential, yet invisible, frontline workers. The devastation we are currently witnessing in seniors’ homes due to COVID-19 pandemic has shaken our collective conscience and we must ensure that we do better moving forward.”

Susan Mintzberg is a PhD Candidate in the School of Social Work. Her research explores the role of families in the mental healthcare system.

susan.mintzberg [at] (English, French)

Mark Yaffe, Full Professor, Department of Family Medicine

“The victimization of seniors may be the result of their particular vulnerabilities, coupled with emotional problems and maladaptive behaviors on the part of those entrusted with some meaningful relationship or responsibility to them. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has tragically spotlighted a global societal form of mistreatment arising from systemic or institutional failure to adequately address the basic survival needs of institutionalized older adults. One must be especially alert to the occurrence of elder abuse since the risk of it presenting appears to be possible even in the best of circumstances.”

Mark Yaffe is a Full Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and a member of the Department of Family Medicine at the St. Mary’s Hospital Center. His work on elder abuse is acknowledged internationally, as he has led an interdisciplinary team that developed and validated WHO-recognized Elder Abuse Suspicion Index (EASI), a simple tool to assist family physicians in detecting elder abuse.

mark.yaffe [at] (English)

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