Bringing you the issues since 1986

View Online Print Edition


Protecting Elders

July 2009

To mark the fourth World Elder Abuse Awareness Day June 15, a community event was organized at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park by the Table des Aînés du Centre-Ouest, consisting of the NDG Community Committee on Elder Abuse, CSSS Cavendish, the Montreal Police, Stations 9 and 11, the Foundation for Vital Aging and the Table de concertation des aînés de Montréal.

These and other organizations were on hand to distribute information about a vast array of resources available to seniors in the community.

Several entertaining activities were organized, including a performance by Montreal blues singer Dawn Taylor Watson, and a theatre presentation from the Ressources ethno culturelles pour contrer l’abus envers les aînés. The event was also an ideal time to launch The Seniors’ Community Notebook, a free publication spearheaded by the NDG Community Committee on Elder Abuse with the support of the Ministère de la Famille et des Aînés and the Foundation for Vital Aging.

From left to right: Lucy Barylak, Joanne Besner, Thurza Dufresne, Stéphanie Dupont and Alan Maislin from the CSSS Cavendish; Jean-Guy Saint-Gelais from the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse; Marguerite Blais, minister responsible for seniors, Leonard Kantor from the Foundation for Vital Aging; Daphne Nahmiash and Rhonda Grief from the NDG Community Committee on Elder Abuse. Click image for larger version

“The idea of the notebook started by wanting to make people aware of elder abuse,” said NDGCCEA chair Daphne Nahmiash, who has worked in the field of seniors’ well being for decades.“One of the big issues is that seniors are not aware of resources. It became a more ambitious project in the end than we anticipated because we decided we would put information about emergency preparedness – so you don’t have 15 different notebooks on every issue.”

Nahmiash, who co-authored the first report on elder abuse in Quebec, says the problems it has highlighted have not gone away. “The issues are still valid. I think the incidence of elder abuse is the same, but more people are aware of it and report it.”

She says caregivers must be supported more than they are now. “Often the resources are not there. People become stressed and conflicts arise. There needs to be more and better co-ordinated resources when people need help. They should not be told ‘you have to do it for longer.’”

In the bilingual booklet, spiral bound and printed on durable glossy cardboard, awareness and prevention of elder abuse takes precedence. The National Seniors’ Council estimates in its 2008 report that between 4 and 10 per cent of seniors, or 345,000, have experienced some form of abuse,with financial abuse being the most common.

Health and safety issues are also covered, including warning signs of conditions that may signal an emergency, medication tips, what to do in a heat wave, cold snap or fire and a list of supplies to have ready just in case. Driving and fall prevention are also mentioned, with phone numbers, maps and lists relevant to all the information given.

Never ignore possible elder abuse, Nahmiash says. “Abuse exists in society in general, but there is a difference when it happens to older, frail people. The consequences are greater because they cannot defend themselves as easily. If you’re aware that someone is being abused physically, psychologically, financially or in an institution, you need to get help. Call the info abuse line or the CLSC and ask for the person to be assessed. If they don’t do anything, call our organization, NDGCCEA. It’s a reality; we need to lobby to make sure people get the help they need.”

Nahmiash says elder abuse is not just the government’s problem. “The community has to be involved to make a more caring community instead of each organization working separately. We must work in partnership.”

NDGCCEA: 514-483-1380 ext. 2016

Elder Abuse Hotline: 514-489-2287



Post a Comment