Golden Circle recognizes need for seniors shelter

Emergency suite opens in September

A two-bedroom suite will open in September in Red Deer for seniors fleeing elder abuse.

Monica Morrison, executive director of Golden Circle Resource Centre, said the long-term goal is to have a stand-alone emergency abuse shelter for seniors.

“We’ve had cases in the past where there has been abuse and they needed to get into a safe place and there was nothing available. They don’t want to go to Edmonton or Calgary so we put them in a hotel,” Morrison said.

The abuse often involves demands for money from family members, she said.

Red Deer and area Royal LePage Network contributed $25,000 towards the project last year, plus another $40,000 through money raised at its sixth annual Charity Golf Tournament held June 15.

“It’s ready to go. We’re just putting in the last few things. Bars in the washroom and stuff in case someone needs some extra support,” said tournament co-chair Tammy Jensen about the emergency suite.

With renovations complete, the focus is now on furnishing the suite located in an undisclosed building.

She said donations of labour and material reduced costs so only $5,000 was spent on renovations. The rest of the money can now go towards operational costs like rent and electricity.

Recently the local Royal LePage Network was chosen from more than 600 offices to receive the national Brokerage of the Year Award for 2016 in part due to its community fundraising.

Its annual Charity Golf Tournament has raised $330,000 over the years, including $80,000 this year, and has regularly raised money for Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter.

Morrison said funding was not available from the province to develop the suite so corporate support was needed and Royal LePage stepped right up after they learned about the growing problem.

“They’re really supportive of this cause. It’s heartwarming,” Morrison said.

“I sit on the Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Council and ever since the economic downturn there has been a huge increase in financial abuse issues. Kids losing their jobs who are constantly trying to get mom and dad to sell the farm. Give them money under duress.”

The need for a shelter and other supports were identified by Golden Circle after receiving $65,000 in 2015 from the province to develop a co-ordinated community response to elder abuse.

“It’s a gap that’s been identified and we’re very happy to have this project moving forward,” Morrison said.

szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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