Keeping in Touch; Taking Action for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in the Townships

In April 2002, at an international conference in Madrid, Spain, countries from around the world adopted a set of United Nations action plans regarding the substantial demographic changes presented by the aging of the world population. The plan included a call to action at all levels of society to protect the human rights and dignity of seniors.

These imperatives led to the creation of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day which takes place every June 15th, giving individuals, organizations, communities and governments the opportunity to recognize and build awareness that many older women and men in their community and around the world experience abuse or neglect.

Townshippers’ Association, through its With Respect to Our Elders project, has answered the call to action on local and regional levels with a number of innovative intergenerational art programs that promote learning, explore creativity and celebrate the dynamism of seniors here in the Eastern Townships. The most recent event, taking place last May, was the memorable Intergenerational Music Festival in Stanbridge-East. With Respect to Our Elders also participates in the Global “age-friendly municipalities” initiative and in the recording of local oral history.

On June 15, Townshippers’ Association, in collaboration with the Council against the mistreatment of older people in the Estrie and other local partners, will honour World Elder Abuse Awareness Day by unveiling a new bilingual website dedicated to ending Elder abuse.

The website launch will be celebrated with a detailed presentation of the site, live music, and special guests during a festive 4 à 6 media gala at the Brulerie de café de Sherbrooke.

The website is the brainchild of Eric Akbar Manolson, coordinator of the With Respect to our Elders’ project, the late Paul Pronovost, Community organizer with CSSS Sherbrooke who died unexpectedly last March, and Audrey Côté, project agent for the Council against the mistreatment of older people in the Estrie.

Both Manolson and Côté emphasize that the new website will be “one of a kind” in Quebec, bringing together a multitude of resources in the Estrie region in one place. As Côté notes, “there is no website out there that covers the maltreatment and abuse of seniors with all tools and regional resources to fight it.”

The site will include a highly informative resource page with tools for learning about and recognizing the signs of elder abuse, a listing of CSSS service locations in every MRC of Estrie, a calendar with current activities for prevention of maltreatment in each MRC, links to important partner organizations and even an emergency button on the home page which directs visitors to important phone numbers to dial if they are in crisis.

As for Townshippers’ Association’s role in this important initiative, Manolson said, “We were honoured to be an integral part of this project.” In addition to working on the English component of the site, Manolson will ensure that the official launch will be a festive one, inviting musicians and incorporating an intergenerational element at the same time.

Working with Côté, Manolson has invited young students, ages 8 to 18, from each MRC of the Estrie region to write a poem, a song or other creative piece on the theme of “How to prevent the abuse and maltreatment of older people (and avoid the need to heal its effects later on).” One winner from each MRC will be awarded a $50 Paul Pronovost Memorial Prize and be invited to read from their work at the media gala and website launch event on June 15.

Look out for next week’s column when we will announce the website address.
For more information about the ‘With Respect to our Elders’ project and the new website contact Eric Akbar Manolson at 819-566-5717 (1-866-566-5717) or by email at [email protected].

Managing a Health Crisis

Can you recognize the signs of a heart attack and if you do, how do you help? Someone is choking, is there a right way or a wrong way to help them? Find the answers to these questions and more at the Bury Community Learning Center from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on June 13, with the Community Health Education Program latest videoconference.

Under the title, “Managing a health crisis,” Jennifer Hobbs-Roberts, Director of nursing & quality at the Jeffery Hale-Saint Brigid’s Hospital in Quebec City, will be presenting the 60-minute information session aimed at helping individuals be better prepared to deal with a health crisis. The session also includes instructions on the use of defibrillator and participant’s questions will be answered.

For more information or to reserve your spot, please contact Lise Dougherty at the CLC in Bury at 819-566-2422 or Shannon Keenan at Townshippers’ Sherbrooke office at 819-566-5717 (1-866-566-5717).

Friendship Day

Townshippers’ Youth Council (YC) and Make Way For YOUth (MWFY) have planned a bunch of fun activities that toddlers to teens, and even the parents, are sure to enjoy for the Borough of Lennoxville’s Friendship Day this Saturday.

An Awkward Family Photo shoot and other great family friendly games will help raise funds for future activities for YOUth in the Eastern Townships! Find them on June 9 under the big tent on the Lennoxville Elementary School field.

For more information on Townshippers’ Association and our activities, keep reading our weekly Keeping in Touch column in The Record and connect with us on Twitter @Townshippers, Facebook and our website at You can also reach us at our two offices 257 Queen St., Sherbrooke, 819-566-5717 ( 1-866-566-5717), [email protected], or 584 Knowlton Rd., Lac-Brome, 450-242-4421 (1-877-242-4421), [email protected].

Photo Cutline: Through various projects Townshippers’ Association has been engaging seniors in the region and celebrating their dynamism. In collaboration with local partners, the Association is proud to have collaborated on a new bilingual website dedicated to ending Elder abuse which goes live next week.

-Photo Credit: Townshippers’ Association