Local initiative provides hope for victims of elder abuse
Residing in my Toronto urban bubble and surrounded by the offices of the Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto and Canada, I often overlook one important reality. Toronto is not Ontario. There are 37 other chapters in the province, each doing excellent work to advance the state of Alzheimer’s care. I figure it is time to put their accomplishments into the spotlight.
Last week was also National Senior’s Safety Week. There are many safety issues facing seniors, but one of the most difficult is that of elder abuse. This topic is important to highlight. Seniors, often in need of assisted living, are vulnerable, even to those caring for them. If someone needs temporary escape because of abuse, there are often no suitable options. Women’s shelters cannot provide proper care and seniors’ residences do not offer short term stays.
In response to this need, the 72 hour stopover program was created in 2011 in the Belleville-Hastings-Quinte region. A subcommittee of the Prevention of Elder Abuse Network spearheaded the initiative, with Laura Hare—the Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Society for Belleville-Hastings-Quinte—as the chairperson. As the title suggests, the program allows seniors to reside in a seniors residence up-to 72 hours. It can even be free of charge if the he is in financial difficulty. This option ensures that he has access to proper care and facilities. A person from victims services also makes sure he has all he needs at the residence while the police deal with the source of the abuse.
The program has many benefits. It allows seniors to live in comfort and dignity while the situation is resolved; provides her with courage in dealing with future problems as she has somewhere to turn; gives her access to community resources that can help solve the source of abuse; and is simple and inexpensive.
It is inspiring to see individuals doing such great work on the behalf of seniors. Programs like these which are sorely needed to ensure that seniors can grow old in the safety and security that they are entitled to. For more information about elder abuse, visit our website.
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