World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was celebrated in St. Laurent at the Recreation Centre with tasty treats and its Seniors Birthday Club on June 15.
Brigite McDaniels, a committee member with the WEAAD, said the approximately 42 attendees included local community members as well as representatives from the Interlake Eastern Regional Health Authority, the Victoria Lifeline and the Canadian Revenue Agency.
Those in attendance played bingo and highlighted local seniors that had birthdays in the month of June with a birthday cake.
Jeannie Gurr, a representative from St. Laurent’s senior resource council, said she also wrote a play called “What’s in a Name Anyways?” for this year’s WEAAD.
“We didn’t have entertainment so… I just wrote it,” Gurr laughed as she explained. “I’m an old drama teacher.”
Gurr’s play featured an old married couple that had been together for over 60 years and another duo meant to represent what could have been their grand children, but were really their inner children.
Gurr said her story took the elderly couple from the time they met in their youth through all of their name changes into the present. The journey took them through the sweet pet names they used for each other in their youth, to the more adult names such as Mother/Father/Ma Mère/Pa Père, all the way to Elder.
“The funniest part was that (when) I asked for volunteers from the people that were there to do the reading, the one who played the old-man husband was the Parish Priest and he made it so funny,” Gurr told The Interlake Spectator on June 18.
“Our coordinator Darlene played the old woman, and then I had an older man (play the young boy) and one of our coordinators, Barb, played the young girl. They were just wonderful.”
Gurr said that the WEAAD is about educating seniors as much as it is about connecting with them and having fun and that the focus this year was on fraud.
The CRA representative, Kayla Linakur, spoke to the seniors club about fraud over the internet and phone, McDaniels said.
“There’s more than just physical abuse,” Gurr said. “There’s emotional (and) financial abuse and neglect.
“People have been receiving phone calls (from people) pretending to be the CRA, a lot of them happened in St. Laurent. People were sharing that,” Gurr explained. “This was (Linakur’s) second year attending, so people felt very comfortable with her and she shared a lot of her own personal experiences to show that even if you’re a smart person, that they will still try to scam you, what to do about that, and not to be silenced.”
“I think that was a huge message all through the day, was a lot of these things happen, that you should share it and not to be embarrassed about it,” Gurr said.
“If it can help one person to avoid being abused, then we’ve succeeded,” McDaniels added.
For more information about the history of WEAAD visit inpea.net/weaad.html or weaadmanitoba.ca.