Sher­brooke team pub­lishes new bilin­gual guide to com­bat el­der abuse

Sherbrooke Record - - FRONT PAGE - By Gor­don Lam­bie

Apro­ject run through Sher­brooke’s Re­search Cen­tre on Ag­ing un­der the lead­er­ship of Pro­fes­sor Marie Beaulieu and the Sher­brooke-based el­der abuse vic­tim sup­port or­ga­ni­za­tion Dira-es­trie has pub­lished a new prac­ti­cal guide to rais­ing aware­ness about and putting a stop to el­der abuse.

“Close to 450 se­niors par­tic­i­pated in help­ing to iden­tify the an­tic­i­pated ob­sta­cles and sup­ports to ask­ing for help in sit­u­a­tions of mis­treat­ment and abuse,” said Beaulieu, who holds the Univer­sity of Sher­broooke’s Chair on the mis­treat­ment of older adults. “The DAMIA guide there­fore re­sponds to the needs iden­ti­fied by the se­niors by ap­ply­ing di­rectly what they said.”

Whether they were the vic­tims or a wit­ness of an abu­sive sit­u­a­tion, 77 per cent of se­niors asked said they had

con­cerns about the im­pli­ca­tions of re­port­ing the abuse. Re­searchers found that, among other things, peo­ple aged 55 to 64 are two times more likely to re­port a sit­u­a­tion of abuse than those 84 and older, and roughly six per cent of se­niors would not ask for help at all. Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, ap­prox­i­mately one se­nior in six liv­ing at home is the vic­tim of mis­treat­ment or abuse.

That in mind, the new guide seeks to of­fer com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions con­crete so­lu­tions to bring­ing cases of abuse to light and stop­ping them in their tracks.

“It is a tool that we are very proud to of­fer to the ex­perts on the ground,” said Caro­line Pel­letier, project co­or­di­na­tor, ex­plain­ing that three years of re­search and con­sul­ta­tion went into the de­vel­op­ment of the new pub­li­ca­tion. “We wanted it to be prac­ti­cal and ac­ces­si­ble to the largest num­ber of peo­ple pos­si­ble,” she added

A full English trans­la­tion of the guide is in the process of be­ing fi­nal­ized and should be avail­able be­fore the hol­i­days, ac­cord­ing to Beaulieu.

“It was im­por­tant for us, work­ing in the Es­trie, to rec­og­nize the English com­mu­nity,” the re­searcher said, ex­plain­ing that the only rea­son for the de­lay in get­ting the English ver­sion printed is the de­sire to en­sure that the text is trans­lated in a clear and ac­ces­si­ble way. Beaulieu added that there was an ef­fort made to con­sider lo­cal English speak­ers in the re­search process, with sur­veys and fo­cus groups hav­ing been con­ducted in the lan­guage on sev­eral oc­ca­sions. Although she said that the re­sults were not an­a­lyzed for dif­fer­ences between lin­guis­tic com­mu­ni­ties, the re­searcher shared anec­do­tally that she no­ticed those English speak­ers who came to par­tic­i­pate of­ten shared that they were in­ter­ested not just to em­power them­selves, but also to help their lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“The more peo­ple who are trained and aware, the bet­ter off we’ll be,” said Dira-es­trie vol­un­teer Louise La­mal­ice, who shared that con­duct­ing the sur­veys for the re­search was an im­por­tant but of­ten chal­leng­ing duty she had to per­form. Even as some­one with for­mal train­ing on deal­ing with el­der abuse, La­mal­ice said that she feels the in­for­ma­tion on the new guide will be help­ful to her work.

The re­search chair on the mis­treat­ment of older adults main­tains a bilin­gual web­site at mal­trai­tancede­ Ac­cord­ing to Beaulieu, the English ver­sion of the guide, once com­plete, will be avail­able on the re­search cen­tre web­site at


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