What does the data say?
It depends upon who you talk to and in which country.
Estimates of the frequency of elder abuse range from 2% to 10% based on various sampling, survey methods, and case definitions.
(Lachs, Mark S., and Karl Pillemer. October 2004. “Elder Abuse,” The Lancet
, Vol. 364: 1192-1263.)
We cannot use US studies to compare and extrapolate it to Canadian data. The US healthcare system is far different than Canada's. We have a much more rigorous system, with many people working with clients, communicating with one another, including family members (aside from the restrictions they believe about privacy laws (FIPPA, PHIPA, which require reporting is there is a safety issue). Those in private homes, retirement homes or LTC, have reporting systems. We have a system that runs off of taxpayer dollars, rather the the US system of private insurance.
Ontario is home to 1.5 million seniors and research indicates that currently four to ten percent (60,000-150,000) of them have experienced or are experiencing abuse of some kind.
Show me the data.
Launch of New Province Wide Help Line Provides Safety Resource for
April 13, 2009,
Toronto – The Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (ONPEA) is
proud to announce the launch of a new province-wide hotline to assist at-risk
seniors. The hotline will provide
assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in 150 languages. In June 2008, the Ontario Trillium
Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario, awarded ONPEA a three-year,
$415,700 grant to help with the set-up of the hotline. That is $138,567 per year.
The hotline is now set up. In Canada, ONPEA
runs this program on $75,000 per year. So the news says. They receive 13,000 calls per year. For 5.8 calls a day, we could put this money to much better use.
My retired teachers' group sent $10,000 to cover the shortfall in their budget, previously paid for by an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant. This is money collected from retirees, without any accounting for the donation. I would like to see a financial report, as well as documentation and the nature of the calls received, and what was specifically done.
RTO/ERO donates $10000 to support seniors' elder abuse hotline ...
The grant to run such a program, from the Ontario Trillium Foundation is running out, and ONPEA has less than a month to raise $75000 to maintain this program.
The government is similarly using false data.
Elder Abuse is a mask for fraud, which is a police matter; or violence, which is a police matter.
What are the solutions?
It is up to us to train front line workers to recognize and prevent such abuse. In my work with Community Home Support, as a volunteer, I feel obliged to report such abuse. I have phoned the Retirement CRIS line, and made a complaint. I have phoned the CoP and complained about my father's physician. Adult children must not be afraid to do this.
([PDF] Screening Tools )
Abuse in an institution
If a senior is abused by a staff member, it needs to be reported. Whether they be nurses, through CCAC, or PSWs, they must be trained to report to their supervisors and family members.
I did so. The family members did not believe the neglect, nor did the retirement association.
Report doctors and nurses to the correct governing body. (If your complaint is with a nurse, again, go to their supervisor, or in a serious situation document everything and go to the College of Nurses of Ontario . If it is a physician then the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is there to help. .)
Report PSWs to their supervisors, and the police.
All this money on advertising is a waste of resources.
Complaints about retirement homes
If a senior is in a retirement home, there is a place to phone.
Reporting requirements under the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 (the “Act”) came into force on May 17, 2011. Under the Act, there is an obligation to make a report to the Registrar of the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (the “RHRA”) if you suspect any harm or risk of harm to a resident resulting from improper care, abuse or neglect, or unlawful conduct. There is also an obligation to report suspicions of misuse or misappropriation of a resident’s money. Residents may make a report, but the Act does not require them to.
To make a report, call the CRIS line at 1-800-361-7254.
Complaints about long-term care If a senior is in Long-Term Care the government has rules and regulations that abound. Long-Term Care homes in Ontario have a strict complaints process. If there are complaints, and there are enough, then they go on warning and are said to be non-compliant. As a Transfer Payment Agency, they must fulfill the obligations of their mandate.
How to make a complaint
LTC Homes Reports
If a senior is in long-term care, there is an abuse hotline.
This political reaction to a real issues is criminal in and of itself.
We must train volunteers, Meals on Wheels, volunteer drivers, to report abuse. It is up to the police to charge them.
ONPEA Annual Financial Report 2011 (PDF)
Staff: $630,157 in salaries.
What are 'Trillium expenses' ($174,852)?
What are the results of the reporting line? How many people were taken to police, convicted and charged, through ONPEA's hotline?
I truly believe that even if one senior is saved from abuse, money isn't an issue, but surely we can prevent it in a simpler way.