Elder Abuse Prevention
With great delight I attended an interesting morning seminar on Elder Abuse. Hosted by Karen Boyer, and the Muskoka Network Against Elder Abuse.
Presentations by OPP's et. Sgt. Robin Sanders, Det. Con., Leslie Raymond, Jayson Swain (lawyer), Raeann Rideout (onpea.org) enhanced our knowledge.
If you are unsure what this topic entails, read 'T is for Trespass', by Sue Grafton, - a great murder mystery about elder abuse. It will shock you.
Abuse against seniors is a hidden tragedy in which elders are taken advantage of physically, socially, financially or emotionally.
Some seniors living in poverty have adult children who are uninformed of their living situations. In my case, my mother was dishonest about her frail health and her inability to do ADL and IADLs. In my case, my mother denied to her CCAC Case Manager that she needed help. She may have appeared to have been "fine", but she was fighting fatigue, pain and an inability to do her ADLs. She denied to all CCAC workers (Ontario portal: access to health care) that she was ill, fearing, perhaps, incarceration!
In some cases the abuse comes in the form of ignorance and neglect. Many times, especially in Central and Northern Ontario, with fewer resources, a lack of transportation and infrastructure, some are suffering needlessly.
This climate is hard on our homes, and some cannot afford to maintain them. Some seniors are caring for seniors. I know that in education and health care, we are obliged to report cases of child abuse and/or neglect. These kids cannot speak up for themselves. Unfortunately, those who volunteer are not aware of proper protocols, nor the signs, in protecting seniors, sometimes from themselves.
Some frail seniors slide into a pattern of self-neglect that results in terrible living conditions. Garbage collects, appliances fail, mold grows, dementia causes them to hoard things. It is only by educating health care workers, the police, municipality and neighbours, to work together to help these seniors find adequate housing and living conditions.
In addition, neighbours, while trying to do seniors favours, end up enabling them to remain in their homes in dangerous situations, covering up their extreme needs for in-home support. My parents, both ill, required help with groceries, their finances, getting mail, doing household chores, and they were very frail. They were living in a dangerous situation in that I did not know how ill they were until I moved here and mom died 6 weeks later. In this case, it might have looked like they were being neglected, but despite nearly daily phone calls, many sons and daughters remain uninformed about issues. Adult children must be informed. PHIPA demands it.
There are places to turn.
There are people who will help. The OPP have officers who specialize in working with communities: Prevention of Elder Abuse, legal aid clinics who will help draft wills, Power of Attorney, Advance Care Planning.
Muskoka Network Against Elder Abuse
caregive @ muskoka.com
Lake Country Community Legal Clinic
Long-Term Care Action Line
OPP Tip Sheet: Abuse of Older Adults (PDF)
Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
416-916-6748, admin @ onpea.org, www.onpea.org