There was a packed room on hand at the Friendship Centre in High River as concerned residents learned about the signs, and ways to help, with senior abuse.

The Foothills Elder Abuse Coordinated Community Responce 'It's Not Right!' talk focused on being able to recognize abuse and how to act on it.

Kerri Wilkinson, program manger for Foothills Regional Victim Services, said the program offers practical tools for family, friends and neighbours to use.

One part of the program is the SNCit Conversation Framework: See It - Name It - Check It, to learn to see, name and check the warning signs and risk factors of abuse.

"Naming it, so identifying it and then checking it with the person," said Wilkinson "So you are not making those assumptions which then puts you in control instead of that individual. Still respecting that older adults have rights, have capacity, get to live their lives the way that they want to live them, but if their is abuse happening that you can have that conversation."

Faye Herrick says the talk was very good.

"The one thing that I think they did was bring awareness," said Herrick. "I think most of the people that we have as members here are safe and secure, but I think it is really important to bring that awareness so we can watch for the signs."

The SNCit Conversation framework includes:

See It - Notice a gut feeling that something is not right, find the willingness to look squarely at the situation and ask what are the warning signs and are there risk factors involved.

Name it - Don't sit in isolation, overcome your hesitation, name your concern, 'I am worried about you...", name the reason for your concern "I saw or I heard," -  just the facts. Be careful not to judge or jump to conclusions - it may not be abuse.

Check it - Is the situations dangerous, trust your instincts, if so call 911. Check yourself, don't try to fix it - ask questions. Check with a professional that works in the violence/ abuse sector - Name what you saw (just the facts) and then ask questions about what to do. Check it with the person; is he/she open to hearing from you at this time? Are you the right person to ask about the situation?

Helpful suggestions for what to say: "I'm concerned about you." "Is everything okay?"  "Is there anything I can do to help?"  "I am here for you," and if you feel they are open to it, "Are you being hurt?"

Be prepared to handle a disclosure - respond with, "I believe you," and "It is not your fault."

For inquiries call:

Distress Centre - 403-266-4357

Rowan House Emergency Shelter - 403 -652-3311

Okotoks Family Resource Centre - 403-995-2626

High River FCSS - 403-652-8620

To have this talk delivered to an interested group contact Kerri Wilkinson at Victim Services at the High River RCMP detachment 403-6522357 or Amanda Midgley, FCSS Coordinator MD of Foothills at 403-601-6229.

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