Let’s get real about elder abuse in 2011 and let’s put an end to elder abuse in 2012!

It seems almost commonplace now to read about some awful case of elder abuse where the attached sentence is hardly worse than a slap on the wrist. Meet Terence Richard Webb, 43, who took advantage of his uncle’s chronic dementia to rob him of his life savings. The case was described by a longtime employee of the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee as “one of the worst cases of elder abuse and neglect I have experienced”.

Despite the gravity of the offense, M. Webb will not serve any hard time. He is to be on house arrest for the first three months of his sentence followed by 15 months with a daily curfew of 11p.m. to 7a.m. To make matters worse, a judge has ordered that he perform 100 hours of community service with an emphasis on working with seniors.  Read about the case here.

In 2012, CARP is pulling out all the stops and taking a hard line on elder abuse.  Earlier this year we said that we believed it was time to get more ambitious and start thinking of June 15th as End World Elder Abuse Day instead of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

CARP plans to start 2012 off with a bang by making it The Year to End Elder Abuse.  While we recognize that it would be next to impossible to eradicate such a scourge in one single calendar year, we are launching a challenge.  Awareness is fantastic – we support it – it is a wonderful first step!  But it is a means to an end – it does not represent the goal itself.

We should have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to elder abuse.  One single case of elder abuse is one case too many.  The goal should be total eradication.   What’s wrong with shooting for the stars?

Earlier this year CARP was invited to attend a conference hosted by the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) and Ryerson University, in collaboration with the Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat.  The conference was held on June 15th 2011 (World Elder Abuse Awareness Day) and it addressed a topic that is often overlooked when elder abuse is being discussed.  The conference was an International Forum on the Sexual Safety of Older Women with an Emphasis on the Human Rights Approach.

Sexual assault is an area of elder abuse that is often overlooked.  It is a taboo, it is horrific and some people don’t want to believe that it exists.  It is uncomfortable and therefore relegated to the shadows, just like domestic abuse used to be.   In fact, our collective social consciousness vis-a-vis elder abuse strongly resembles where we were with regards to domestic abuse several decades ago.

Leading the Way: The Conversation Continues ONPEA/ PSNO Joint Conference

On November 14th, 15th and 16th 2011, CARP attended a three day elder abuse conference highlighting key developments in elder abuse prevention, providing quality care for seniors, supporting personal support workers (PSW’s).   Professionals from a variety of disciplines presented during both formal and interactive sessions.  These conferences present fantastic opportunities for networking and exploring various areas in greater detail.  In this, and upcoming, issues of CARP Action Online we will share knowledge and expertise from a variety of professionals who work on issues of elder abuse.

CARP has already conducted extensive research on the elder abuse file and we continue to gather and update and expand our knowledge base in the area.  CARP Action Online readers will benefit from regular updates in the field that come straight from the discussions of experts professionals.  In upcoming issues of CARP Action Online we will feature in depth stories on special topics and interview a variety of experts. Let’s put an end to elder abuse in 2012!

Let’s Get Real About Elder Abuse in 2011

We have explored the Systems that Are Currently in Place

We have identified the service gaps on the group and updated our policy recommendations

Given readers tips and resources that could save their lives

And written about how to speak to and deal with victims of elder abuse

In the next issues we will examine how societal ageism, social policies and infrastructure can either lead to elder abuse or help eradicate it.  We will also examine the parallels between the struggle to end elder abuse and the history of domestic abuse as well as examine the unique challenges that are posed when we consider the changing face of elder domestic abuse.  We will also examine which measures and preparations can be made in order to be as invulnerable to elder abuse as possible.  Finally, we will study elder abuse intervention strategies in long term care facilities and provide tips on selecting a nursing home/LTC facility for yourself and for your loved ones.

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