Neighbours, friends and family members play a key role in the identification of abusive situations involving seniors. These individuals often have a personal relationship with the senior, making them a potential resource to help seniors at risk and therefore reduce further escalation of abuse. A federal initiative has been developed to raise awareness and provide education about the growing problem of elder abuse in Canada.
“It’s Not Right” – www.itsnotright.ca
We have a shared responsibility to promote respect for all members of our society. Everyone has a role to play. When people have trouble in their relationships, you may be the neighbour, friend or family member who can make a positive difference. We also need to recognize the ways our society discriminates against older adults. “Ageism” is the term that describes attitudes and beliefs that cause people to treat older adults as if they were less important or less valued because they are older.
If you are concerned that an older adult in your life may be experiencing abuse, education yourself on the warning signs and types of abuse you don’t have to “fix” the problem. Caring about the people around you and paying attention when there are signs of trouble are important steps. Small actions can make a big difference. Create a safe environment to talk to the senior about your concerns. Ensure the suspected “abuser” is NOT present. Provide support by listening and being nonjudgmental.
If at any time you are worried about the personal safety of the senior (or anyone else involved) do not hesitate to call 911 or the Seniors Safety Line 1-866-299-1011.
At all times make sure to place your own personal safety first. If the senior refuses help, you can access support for yourself to help you cope with your concerns contact: Seniors Safety Line 1-866-299-1011, 211 Ontario, or NSM Healthline at 310-2222 or www.nsmhealthline.ca
Request an educational presentation on what you can do as Neighbours, Friends and Family.