Each Year, June 15th marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, a time to bring together senior citizens, their caregivers, and governments and focus attention on the problem of physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders.
Everyone can play a role, by learning the signs of abuse and knowing how to get help. In Canada one of the best resources is the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (CNPEA). Go to their website (www.cnpea.ca)to find assistance, including information on these important intervention partners.
Adult Protective Services – In most provinces, APS caseworkers are the first responders to reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults.
Social Services – Can help put together a plan of care and marshal various social services
Ombudsman – Works to resolve complaints against long-term care facilities and prevent abuse, neglect and exploitation through education, site visits, and other activities
Law Enforcement – Gets involved in arresting perpetrators, enforcing restraining orders, performing “well-being” checks, and assisting APS in conducting investigations
Judicial System – Plays a role in hearing various cases involving elder abuse
Health Care System – Physicians, nurses, dentists, and other health care professionals have a unique relationship wit hthe elderly and may be able to identify and address abuse and neglect
Domestic Violence – Services include crisis intervention, safety planning, advocacy, legal assistance, peer counseling, emergency shelter, and cell phone loans
Faith Communities – By visiting the elderly in their homes, clergy and members of faith communities may be able to observe and report signs of abuse or neglect