Manon Germain is a Certified Professional Consultant on Aging, and Project Specialist with Age Friendly Guelph. She is passionate about community development and co-creating collaborative frameworks that support the development of age-friendly communities. Manon seeks to steward initiatives and projects that are inclusive, value respect, celebrate diversity, and create positive safe spaces for people to age-well and be healthy. She believes that capacity building can lead to positive social impact, by shifting paradigms, changing norms, stereotypes and stigma associated with aging.
The Guelph Wellington Gatekeeper Project: A Community Driven Initiative to Build Awareness of Older Adults At Risk of Abuse
Do you know the signs of abuse, or indicators of older adults at-risk? There’s a lot of information circulating about elder abuse awareness, including the forms of abuse such as financial, physical, emotional, sexual and neglect but do you know how to help someone in need? We don’t always have the answers to these questions. The Guelph Wellington Gatekeeper Project aims to educate community members to be able to identify vulnerable and at-risk older adults, and gain awareness about how to make a referral via HERE 24/7.
The Gatekeeper Project is based on the principle that the care of a vulnerable citizen is everyone’s responsibility and helping each other contributes to a better society. The purpose of the Gatekeeper Training model developed in 2017 by Age Friendly Guelph, The Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington and local partners, with funding from the Government of Ontario, is to help build elder abuse awareness, as well as equip participants to know where to make a referral to help older adults in need. Gatekeepers are employees of corporations, businesses and organizations, as well as volunteers or any concerned community member who has contact with vulnerable older adults in our community.
Objectives include delivering workshops to community members and service providers to learn more about:
– Risk factors for vulnerable older adults
– Forms of elder abuse
– The role of the Gatekeeper
– The referral pathway
Guelph and Wellington County are unique communities, based on the collective approach to address seniors at-risk, which is done in a collaborative framework that engages service agencies from diverse sectors to provide community support for those experiencing abuse.
It is projected that by 2031, Guelph will have almost 53,000 adults aged 55 years and older representing 30% of all residents (guelph.ca/agefriendly). The City of Guelph joined the World Health Organization’s Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities in 2014, to support the implementation of the city’s Older Adult Strategy. The Gatekeeper Project was a recommendation listed within the domain of respect and social inclusion to establish a “seniors watch” program.
The Guelph Wellington Gatekeeper Project is a community driven initiative, developed with the hope of scaling this model locally and provincially to enable other rural and urban communities to take action and build community awareness of older adults at-risk.
For more information, visit www.guelph.ca/agefriendly and www.gwgatekeeperproject.ca or contact Manon Germain via email@example.com