As communities focus on preparing younger generations to be the leaders of the future, not enough attention is being paid to the people that got them here in the first place.
The alleged mistreatment of a 68-year-old woman found in her son’s garage with one piece of bread and a box of diapers suggested a devastating case of elder abuse.
It is a pity that it takes alleged incidents like this to alert communities to a growing problem, and even sadder that this community may have let it happen.
Media reports indicate that people living on the same street or even the family could have known what was going on, but did not step forward.
Too often, people know there is a problem going on, but do not want to get involved at the risk of sounding like a nosy neighbour. And while there is some truth to that, those abused will reach out to someone around them. Neighbours should at least be willing to listen.
Statistics Canada reported that between 1998 and 2005, police-reported violence against seniors had gone up by 20 per cent. And in several cases, it was abuse at the hand of family members.
So far, proposed solutions are not cutting it. The province has the Aging at Home strategy, but most of the funding is going to those in hospitals instead.
And for those who prefer institutional care, the Toronto Star’s exposé late last year on a retirement home, showed a reality that needs to be fixed.
When Ontario Health Minister Deborah Matthews heard about the retirement home, she said she was consumed by the problem of elder abuse.
And we need to be too.
So take a look at the elderly around you and remember to appreciate them.
Remember that one day you will be old enough to need the same care. Do not wait until that day to recognize the problem.