Unison means coming together.

And coming together is one of the most important things we can do in times of crisis.

“Circling the wagons” is a term that comes to mind and although we may not have horse-drawn wagons anymore, the image resonates: surrounding those that are vulnerable with our community, willing to help.

A crisis that is more common than many understand is that of elder abuse. Elder abuse is defined as any action or inaction by a person in a trusting relationship with a senior that causes harm or distress, whether it be physical, emotional, financial or sexual abuse.

As awful as it may be to imagine, abuse happens to the seniors in our community. And Unison stands behind our seniors to support them when the unthinkable occurs.

In Medicine Hat, we have the incredible Jeanette Devore — the facilitator of the Elder Abuse Case Management Program. She works closely with older adults, their families, care partners and other service providers to offer support, provide education, and help them navigate these impossible situations. Jeanette acts as a beacon, a lighthouse for seniors experiencing abuse to help them find their way to self-advocacy and safety.

In Calgary, Unison operates an Elder Abuse Shelter — one of few in existence in Canada.

Here, we provide a shelter from the storm: a place where seniors can escape dangerous or abusive situations to rebuild their lives with the help of social workers and community outreach coordinators. They can live their day-to-day lives without fear, without anxiety, able to work on re-entering the world with continued support even after they leave.

Every dollar donated to the Unison Elder Abuse Shelter means a vulnerable senior is kept safe, fed and supported during the darkest crisis a person can experience.

Unison means togetherness. And togetherness means we don’t want anyone left behind.