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Article in THE VOICE:

The Abuse of Older Adults and the Law - What Islanders Need to Know

Tuesday 4th August 2009 13:09   (Updated: Tuesday 4th August 2009 13:11)


Community Legal Information Association of PEI is developing new resources for Islanders with a focus on preventing and responding to the abuse of older adults. Article as seen in "The Voice".


THE ABUSE OF OLDER ADULTS AND THE LAW:

WHAT ISLANDERS NEED TO KNOW

Community Legal Information Association of PEI is developing new resources for Islanders with a focus on preventing and responding to the abuse of older adults. Many of you may be familiar with publications from our 1998 project, “Planning Ahead: What Seniors Need To Know”. These publications include information on wills and estates, powers of attorney and health care decisions. They have been revised and updated over the years and are available free from our office 892-0853 or toll-free at 1-800-240-9798.

Since 1998, the issue of elder abuse, once rarely mentioned, has become a more frequent concern of callers to our toll-free information line. The goal of the current project is to address this need and develop new, effective and relevant resources for Island seniors, their families and staff at seniors’ facilities. To achieve this we have partnered with the Prince Edward Island Centre on Health and Aging, the PEI Senior’s Safety Program and the PEI Senior Citizens’ Federation. This is a three year project funded by New Horizons for Seniors Program of HRSDC.

For a number of reasons, older people are often silent about abuse. If the abuse is at the hands of a family member, they may feel embarrassed or that they have no choice but to put up with it. They may be afraid of what will happen if police get involved or they may fear being sent to a nursing home. Often seniors are dependent on the abuser and are afraid the abuse could get worse if they look for help.

The issues that callers to the CLIA information line are dealing with demonstrate that abuse can result from a lack of understanding about the laws and the roles and responsibilities of family and caregivers. Improved access to legal information can help ensure that seniors are safe wherever they live

A literature review has been conducted as well as interviews with many people who work with seniors on PEI. There has also been a series of focus groups with adult protection workers, clergy, police, home care workers, family violence prevention services, nursing home staff, and community care staff. Other focus groups have included residents at community care facilities, members of the francophone community, the Aboriginal community, rural Islanders and city residents.

Over the next year, new resources will be drafted and field tested with Islanders. In the final phase of the project, a presentation team will take the new resources to seniors, their families and service providers across PEI in a ‘travelling road show’.   After the project is completed the resources will continue to be updated and disseminated by the Community Legal Information Association as part of our mandate.

For further information, please contact Anne Nicholson 892-0853 or 1-800-240-9798.

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