Sherbrooke team publishes new bilingual guide to combat elder abuse
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 maltraitancedesaines.com/en. According to Beaulieu, the English version of the guide, once complete, will be available on the research centre website at http://cdrv.csss-iugs.ca/home.