The purple flower of the lilac is growing as a symbol of how the community has joined together to create elder abuse awareness and provide a support system for its victims.

For the third year, a lilac tree will be planted to draw attention to the community-wide, multi-agency initiative to protect our elders from mental, physical and financial abuse. Each year a different location is selected and this year's tree will be located on the grounds of the Frank Wills Memorial Hall, 405-1st St. E.

A brief planting ceremony was held on June 3 in front of the hall to help set the stage for the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) event on Friday, June 14. Members of the WEAAD committee were joined by Deputy Mayor Alex Reed, FCSS representatives and some local seniors at the ceremony.

WEAAD chair Susan Morgan cuts the cake during the tree-planting ceremony, aided by Brenda Dennis, community liaison and programmer for older adults.

Local WEAAD committee chair Susan Morgan says when people see the lilacs they are reminded that support is available.

"Lots of people see it and know when something doesn't feel quite right," says Morgan about elder abuse. "So for the times they suspect something, they will know there is help available in Cochrane. They will remember, 'I know where to look for it,' whereas before they might not have been aware, The lilac helps to raise that awareness."

On June 14, information and updates on local activities will be provided on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day at the Royal Canadian Legion, 114-5th Ave. It will be capped off by a short awareness walk in the Historic Downtown. Lunch will be provided and door prizes will be drawn. It runs from 10:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.

People are encouraged to wear purple, the colour adopted for elder abuse awareness and support.

Assisting older adults who have been subjected to abuse is Community-Led Elder Abuse Response (CLEAR). It's a coordinated, community-wide initiative that focuses on increasing awareness and providing a response through education, coordinated community planning and advocacy.