Sunday, March 20, 2011

Elder abuse, neglect, not age-based

I am concerned about this issue. While CARP, a senior lobby group, has been touring the country advocating for more money spent on this issue, the tools to prevent it are not being engaged.

This gurney is one used by my friend, Michele, paraplegic and in constant pain in LTC, who must visit the dentist via an ambulance team. This is where we need more support. LTC cannot look after some needs, and our residents suffer, as well as all of society.

Media coverage, which is what they base their research on, is not evidence-based decision-making. [ Click here to see a full pdf copy of the compendium.] Blatant pseudo research: 'Did you know that almost 1 in 10 elder Canadians have suffered Click here for our infographic

Where is this data from? Media reports.

Abuse and neglect run through all demographics of the population, and is not limited to seniors. We have the tools, and use them, and financial, social or emotional abuse must be recognized.

3.0 Family violence against older adults, p. 32 [PDF: Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2007]

Research shows that those with dementia are powerless. However, if police reports are the clue, perhaps caregiving in the home is the issue that ought to be targeted.

 It is my premise that we are spending so much time and energy fearmongering around this issue, i.e., generating money for elder abuse, less money goes to direct services. And we know what aging seniors need: direct services, home support, well-trained, qualified geriatricians, nurses with palliative care training, regulated and trained Personal Support Workers (PSW) who understand a client's needs.

We are not looking at the real issues. As a hospice volunteer I am seeing many who need small help to keep them happy and comfortable. The data is iffy in the area of Elder Abuse. Police reports are a clue, but those in their twilight years do not have access to police or social workers. This is neglect, and is no different from young children who are similarly neglected due to ignorance and mental health issues.

Elder abuse is an important issue for Canadians. It is estimated that somewhere between 4 and 10 percent of seniors in Canada experience some kind of abuse. New research conducted by Environics for Human Resources and Social Development Canada has provided the following information * about Canadians' awareness of the issue of elder abuse.
  • 96 percent of Canadians think most of the abuse experienced by older adults is hidden or goes undetected.
  • 22 percent of Canadians think a senior they know personally might be experiencing some form of abuse.
  • 90 percent of Canadians feel the abuse experienced by an older person often gets worse over time.
  • Raising awareness among seniors about their right to live safely and securely is seen as the most important issue for governments when it comes to elder abuse with 9 in 10 Canadians (90.5 per cent) rating it as a high priority.
  • 67 percent of Canadians feel older women are more likely to be abused than older men.
  • 12 percent of Canadians have sought out information about a situation or suspected situation of elder abuse or about elder abuse in general.
  • Almost 1 in 20 Canadians (5 percent) have searched the internet for information specifically about elder abuse issues.
What do you think of the above 'facts'? Note the words feel, might be, as I highlighted them. These are not facts.
This is where our money needs to go: prevention, home care, social workers to monitor these client!

37,000 messages supporting adequate sector funding delivered to MPPs
Politicians hearing the OLTCA’s message

About 37,000 signatures supporting the Ontario Long Term Care Association’s (OLTCA) 2011 advocacy campaign, which is aiming to raise awareness of the need for adequate sector funding, have been sent to MPPs throughout the province.

You can see my case studies here: Health Care blog

There is little real research, and a few real, horrific cases. Those self-reporting, like my mother, cannot see the big picture and blame others for their issues. My father, with a brain tumour, incontinence, mobility issues and dementia, blamed me for keeping him in LTC. Those with dementia cannot identify truth from their own reality.

As I work in my communities, I see many who are caring lovingly and well for their family members. They need the respite that a few volunteers, such as myself provide for free. Perhaps it's time to put more money into real Aging at Home strategies and respite programs.

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