Seniors’ Column

This week's column looks at elderly abuse and how to help prevent it.

There are many kinds of help available for elder abuse and neglect.

Personal security is recognized by many of us, as a major issue. Within our province, there is a rapidly growing seniors population and it is comforting to learn that the BC Government is committed to providing the services and information necessary to support the safety and security of older citizens.

Unfortunately, there is also a growing problem of elder abuse and neglect in some communities. If it is thought that someone is abusing or neglecting a senior, it is up to groups and individuals to ensure that help is made available and that if an emergency is arising, that the RCMP are contacted to look into the situation. Dial dial 9-1-1 for assistance.

We can learn more about the legal options and resources which are available to assist capable adults, and to take the steps necessary to promote awareness of what can be done in the event of a future incapacity.

For example, information is available on how to appoint someone whom you know and can be trusted on the subject of financial, legal and also personal care decisions in the event that one is unable to make these decisions on our own.

Scams and fraud are also of increasing concern to seniors and it is essential that we seek help in protecting ourselves from unfair business practises as well as investment fraud. In addition, in light of the many changes which are taking place throughout society in general, it is advised that we become familiar with the information and helping resources which are available to both individuals and families, in order to get prepared and safe in advance in should an emergency or natural disaster ever arise.

If there appears a need to report financial abuse of a vulnerable adult or even abuse by a substitute decision-maker we are advised to contact the office of the Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia. Dial toll-free, 1-800-663-7867 and request that you be transferred to this service.

In the case of protection of an individual who has a development disability, call Community Living BC, toll-free at 1-877-660-2522.


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