- Understanding Elder Abuse -The Gazette April 28, 2010
- Boomer tide collides with our changing society - Time Colonist - April 25, 2010
Understanding Elder Abuse
It can happen anywhere -- in the home, in institutional care facilities, or in public -- and it can take many forms -- financial, verbal, psychological, physical, or sexual, says Gordon Roberts. Roberts is referring to elder abuse.
"Some of it is systemic, some is the result of neglect, and there is the ageism thing,'' he said, explaining the abuser can be a family member or friend, a stranger preying on a senior's vulnerability, a trustee overseeing the elderly person's financial affairs, or a caregiver.
As regional project co-ordinator for the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE), Roberts works with a multidisciplinary team of volunteers, including retired nurses, a social worker, police officers and a physician whose objective is to generate awareness, educate the public about the signs of elder abuse, develop intervention strategies and work towards prevention of this growing problem.
"There are some tools being developed by practitioners -- health-care workers, social workers and police -- that are being rolled out to the general public in order to identify situations, abusive situations,'' Roberts said.
NICE is also working on fostering interdisciplinary teams in the care of the elderly, encouraging more health-care students to train in this specialty area, and lobbying for improved geriatric and gerontological training and policy changes to address some of the systemic abuses.
"Elder abuse has been around for a long time, it has just been hidden or not reported. But we do have an aging population so chances are it will increase,'' he said.
Put it this way, Statistics Canada estimates that between four to 10 per cent of older adults are abused. The fastest growing segment of the population are the older adults so that would mean given that and taking those percentages that would mean elder abuse is on the rise and becoming more prevalent."
The University of Regina's Senior Education Centre received funding from the New Horizons for Seniors Program through Human Resources and Skills Development Canada to revamp its elder abuse program in terms of education material and elder abuse assessment and intervention reference guides.
As a volunteer, Roberts was asked to do presentations to the RCMP on elder abuse, which prompted him to do more research on the subject and get involved with NICE.
Elder abuse is a really complex issue, but the odds are high that you know someone who is being abused, Roberts said.
For more information about NICE and elder abuse, readers can log onto (www.nicenet.ca).
© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service
Boomer tide collides with our changing society TOP
Anyone who has been riding the toronto subway for the past 10 or 20 years could not have been surprised by this week's news that Canada's population will be almost one-third visible minorities by 2031. As regular subway rider, i am often the most visible minority -- an old white guy among a sea of younger, darker faces. indeed, toronto's changing ethnic makeup is such that non-Caucasians are set to become the absolute majority within three decades.
i cite the statistics Canada report because it came just as i was receiving a wad of email responses to last week's column about my turning 65 and getting my monthly old age pension.
Much of the reader reaction was birthday wishes mixed with commentary about the oAs pension, Cpp, pensions in general and the coming state of the world as a tsunami of boomers begins to turn 65 next year. But among the dozens of emails were some using the column as a jumping-off point to comment on Bill C-428. Actually, "comment on" does not do justice to the level of intensity surrounding the emails.
Bill C-428, in a nutshell, is a private member's bill that would amend the oAs Act to allow all seniors regardless of their country of origin to qualify for a "partial" oAs pension after three years in the country, instead of the present 10. seniors who have lived in Canada for 40 years would receive a maximum payment -- $516.96 a month this year -- while a senior getting the pension after three years would be eligible only for 3/40ths of the full amount or $38.77.
that's it in a nutshell. lingering at the edges of the nutshell is the fact that the private member's bill was introduced last year by liberal Mp Ruby dhalla, whose Brampton riding in ontario has a large south Asian population.
some emailers are incensed that such an amendment would be introduced, one saying, "it is time to stop the insanity ... this bill has one purpose -- to featherbed a select group of people for votes."
this particular junction is where the rapidly changing face of our society collides with a rapidly aging boomer generation that remembers the Canada of long ago -- when a transit ride was not a multicultural experience -- and is looking forward with much trepidation to an uncertain retirement. With government deficits mushrooming and health costs skyrocketing, people rightly wonder if yesterday's necessities might become tomorrow's unattainable luxuries.
thus, it is proper to question any new expenditures, such as expanding oAs coverage, and spending programs already in place.
What is not proper is to rail against Bill C-428 and basically misrepresent the case by implying that those in the country only three years would be eligible for the full monthly pension of $516.96. None of the emails i received or the blogs i viewed mentioned the fact that each one year of residency would be worth only 1/40th of the maximum amount and that the three-year resident would receive about $38.77.
it is proper in such debates, as passionate as they may be, to outline all the facts.
supporters of the bill say the facts are that many immigrant seniors who have been in Canada only a few years are destitute because their circumstances with their sponsors can change dramatically, that they can become homeless and not even have the financial resources to return to their home country.
true. this could happen. probably has. But in what numbers? And if it were to happen, there are community social services that could help.
As Canada's racial mix grows less Caucasian, the shrill arguments of those opposing C-428, do no justice to the debate.
Bill C-428 needs to be stopped purely on its questionable merits. the current minimum 10-year residency for seniors to qualify for the oAs pension is proper and generous in the present circumstances and considering future demands on the public purse.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald