Elder Abuse E-Bulletin June 2011 - Public Health Agency of Canada

Bringing the Issue of Elder Abuse to the Forefront!

Developed under the public health component of the Federal Elder Abuse Initiative (FEAI), the Canadian Elder Abuse Training and Information Forum took place in Winnipeg from October 25 to 26, 2010.

Key stakeholders working in the field of elder abuse in Canada attended the forum, organized by Age and Opportunity Inc. With support from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), this event provided training on a number of tools developed through the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE)’s Elder Abuse: Awareness to Action Project.

The event’s initial plenary session, Counterpoint Project: Looking to Key Elder Abuse and Neglect Cases for Strategies to Empower Practice, was based on a PHAC funded project. It discussed the complexities of elder abuse, along a broad continuum of types of relationships and contexts.

Other PHAC-funded elder abuse prevention resources were presented, such as It's Not Right! Neighbours, Friends and Families for Older Adults, which provides practical information to assist the public in helping seniors who may be experiencing abuse. Another highlighted project was Across the Generations: Respect all Ages, aimed at youth to foster empathy and promote respectful intergenerational relationships.

Forum discussion topics included:

  • the need for training on working with challenging legal and ethical issues;
  • exploring research opportunities to effectively translate knowledge into action; and
  • further examination of cultural issues.

Learn more by visiting the Age and Opportunity Inc. website to download presentations and the Forum’s program guide.

Nip Ageism in the Bud - Take it Intergenerational

Help create a future Canada where elder abuse no longer exists and bullying and disrespect take a backseat to awareness and empathy! Check out Across the Generations: Respect all Ages, a new, easy to use curriculum kit that engages children ages 8-12 in building intergenerational capacity through respectful activities.

Funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) under the Federal Elder Abuse Initiative, this kit was inspired by an intergenerational education program developed by the Manitoba Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat. The kit also comes with a downloadable video entitled Seniors are Cool!

This new online curriculum includes five sections:

  • The first section is a guide about elder abuse, which helps encourage understanding and empathy in children.
  • The second section contains support materials that can be reproduced as well as resource links.
  • The last three sections include lessons, organized by the time required to complete them and the degree of complexity:
    • “Getting to Know About You - Accepting one another” features 30-60 minute lessons to create awareness about ageing.
    • “Getting to Know You – Respecting one another” moves deeper with activities requiring 1-2 hours with the goal of connecting children respectfully and purposefully to older adults face-to-face.
    • “Celebrating Us within Community – Protecting one another” gives seven examples of sustainable community involvement between children and older adults through intergenerational activities.

The kit also includes eight simple tools to involve children in discussions and action. For school staff, connections to the prescribed learning outcomes in the provincial and territorial mandated curriculums are provided.

For more information on intergenerational resources, visit the i2i Intergenerational Society of Canada.

The i2i Intergenerational Society is a not-for-profit society seeking to bridge the generations. Members include educators, health care workers, older adults, community, youth and parents who are passionately engaged in the promotion of intergenerational programs and learning opportunities. The ‘i2i’ stands for “invitation to intergenerational immersion.” In 2009, the Canadian Cancer Society’s Community Capacity Building Strategy awarded i2i with the Innovative Community Capacity Building Award for its Intergenerational Community Bridge Building project. For more information, please visit the i2i website.

Sharon MacKenzie B.A. MEd, is the founder and Executive Director of the i2i Intergenerational Society and author of Across the Generations: Respect All Ages. Thirty years ago, Sharon had a vision of school children being re-connected in quality intergenerational relationships outside of school. She worked with community partners and elementary schools to bridge the two generations by creating programs with volunteer activities to fulfil both curricular requirements and community mandates. The Meadows School Immersion Project emerged, providing a successful eight year intergenerational model. In 2009, Sharon was the recipient of the B.C. Premier’s Award for Teaching Excellence and the Rotary Service Above Self Award. She was featured in two documentaries on Sounds Like Canada, broadcast by CBC Radio. Currently, Sharon speaks across Canada and internationally at health care, education, and community arts and recreation conferences. She also advises on planning and implementing intergenerational activities.

Do You Know an Older Adult Who Is Being Abused or Neglected?

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) released a dynamic public education resource to engage Canadians in preventing and addressing the abuse of older adults.

A neighbour, friend or family member may see the warning signs of abuse or neglect, but may not know how to help. It’s Not Right! Neighbours, Friends and Families for Older Adults is a public education resource developed by the University of Western Ontario's Centre for Research & Education on Violence against Women and Children (CREVAWC).

"It's Not Right!" provides practical tools and resources to anyone who is concerned that an older adult in their life may be experiencing abuse. This resource teaches Canadians the warning signs of abuse and how to intervene safely and effectively when abuse become visible. Warning signs may include:

  • Fear, anxiety or depression related to a family member, friend or care provider;
  • Unexplained physical injuries;
  • Dehydration, poor hygiene, poor nutrition; and/or
  • Sudden drop in cash flow or financial holdings.

It’s Not Right! includes three brochures and a PowerPoint presentation. Experts in the field of elder abuse prevention and intervention were consulted across the country. Materials for It’s Not Right! were adapted from a successful Ontario campaign on domestic violence called Neighbours, Friends and Families, see: http://www.neighboursfriendsandfamilies.ca/

We all have a role to play in creating safe, supportive and strong communities. Get informed so you can help prevent and stop elder abuse in your community. It’s Not Right! will be posted online in March 2011, at: http://www.crvawc.ca/

The Centre for Research & Education on Violence against Women and Children (CREVAWC) was founded in 1993 as a collaboration between The University of Western Ontario, Fanshawe College and the London Coordinating Committee to End Woman Abuse. The Centre was created in response to the 1989 murder of 14 women at École Polytechnique in Montreal and joined the University of Western Ontario’s Faculty of Education in 2001. As a respected institution, CREVAWC promotes the development of community-centred, action and research on violence against women and children. It serves local, national and international communities by producing useful information and tools. CREVAWC has highly committed and competent staff to carry out research, education, training and project development and participates on a variety of committees, projects and initiatives, nationally, provincially and locally. For more information, please visit: http://www.crvawc.ca/

Margaret MacPherson, M.A., is the author of the public education resource, It’s Not Right! Neighbours Friends and Families for Older Adults. Margaret holds a Master of Arts in Cultural Theory and Criticism (2001) from the University of Western Ontario. She also worked for six years for the Government of Ontario’s Victim Services Secretariat (OVSS) and Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) where she received multiple awards for her leadership, collaborative teamwork and innovative ideas. As a result of her work with the OVSS, Margaret became involved with the Neighbours, Friends and Families (NFF) public education campaign on woman abuse, see: http://www.neighboursfriendsandfamilies.ca/. She later joined the University of Western Ontario’s Centre for Research & Education on Violence against Women and Children (CREVAWC) as a research associate to develop the NFF public engagement and workplace strategy components. The theoretical and methodological perspectives she uses are informed by critical and feminist theory, philosophy, participatory approaches, and narrative analysis.

Intergenerational Trust - Teen Leaders Shine

The World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) Teen Kit engages youth in elder abuse prevention by motivating high school students to plan and develop unique and exciting intergenerational projects to promote care, respect, trust, and safety for all ages.

The primary goal of the WEAAD Teen Kit is to build intergenerational relationships. The kit is an educational resource, designed to help secondary school teachers guide their students to exercise creativity and leadership in planning elder abuse prevention projects in their schools and communities.

The WEAAD Teen Kit is geared to all Canadians including those living in rural, urban, First Nations and multicultural communities. The kit includes:

  • ideas and examples to assist with planning events and activities;
  • awareness materials such as social media tools, sample articles and presentations; and
  • age appropriate information about elder abuse and the importance of intergenerational connectedness.

The kit was pilot-tested with over 100 teens and educators from across Canada (British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland) and internationally (India). Teens participated in workshops on elder abuse prevention which lead to intergenerational community activities, projects and school events. Their accomplishments were showcased and celebrated at the national WEAAD event held in Toronto on June 15, 2010. Projects included art work, public service announcements, books, workshops, videos, social media projects, awareness campaigns and more.

The WEAAD Teen Kit was jointly developed by PHAC’s Division of Aging and Seniors (DAS) and the International Federation of Ageing (IFA), under the public health component of the Federal Elder Abuse Initiative (FEAI).

The Counterpoint Project - Moving from Scrutiny to Strategy: An Analysis of Key Canadian Elder Abuse and Neglect Cases

Health care and community service providers will soon have new tools to assist them in overcoming challenging legal and ethical dilemmas when faced with the complexities of elder abuse.

The Counterpoint Project, commissioned by PHAC under the Federal Elder Abuse Initiative (FEAI) and developed by the Canadian Centre for Elder Law (CCEL), offers an assortment of tools and resources to support practice with respect to issues of elder abuse and neglect. This project addresses questions about:

  • obligations of care and service providers  to respond to abuse and neglect as well as the risk of abuse;
  • adhering to professional practice guidelines, employer policies, adult protection laws and other relevant legislation; and
  • who to proceed when rules appear to conflict.

The purpose of the Counterpoint Project is to help service providers negotiate the various legal and ethical challenges in elder abuse prevention and response. It includes a plain language discussion paper, guidelines for a continuum of health care providers, tools and videos.

The Counterpoint tools and resources will be available on the Canadian Centre for Elder Law website in March 2011.

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