Elder abuse help available

IHA has launched a new, confidential toll-free number to report the mistreatment of older adults

The Interior Health Authority has launched a new, confidential toll-free number to report the mistreatment of older adults.

“Research shows that seniors are the most likely to suffer physical, psychological or financial abuse or neglect from a family member,” said Terry Lake, health minister.

Anyone within IHA who has concerns regarding elder abuse can call 1-844-870-4754 to be connected with an Interior Health staff member who is trained to respond to such situations.

The phone number and corresponding email address, ihadultgaurdianship@interiorhealth.ca, were launched in May this year. Always call 911 if the situation is an emergency and you require immediate help.

Elder abuse takes many forms, including physical, financial, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse, and neglect or self-neglect. It can affect anyone, regardless of their health, financial background or social standing. It can occur anywhere and anytime, whether an individual is living independently, with family, or in a residential care home or other facility.

“Seniors are trusting and open-hearted, they are willing to help, and it’s troubling that sometimes people prey on that kindness,” said Darryl Plecas, parliamentary secretary for seniors.

“It’s essential for all of us to be aware and take action, because we have a responsibility to promote a culture of respect and protect the safety of seniors.”

Almost 16 per cent of B.C.’s population is over 65-years-old.

Within IHA, that number is higher, with more than 22 per cent of residents over 65, and climbing. As our society ages, it is increasingly important to be able to recognize elder abuse and give people the tools they need to stop it.

The B.C. Association of Community Response Networks, which supports a local community coordinated response to the abuse, neglect and self-neglect of vulnerable adults, applauds the launch of the new phone line.

“The B.C. CRN provides mentorship, resources and support to service providers and encourages public education activities to help residents understand the signs of abuse and how to help prevent it from happening,” said Sherry Baker, executive director of the B.C. CRN. “The launch of this number will further help communities to help address this important issue.

“I am pleased to add our support to this initiative being taken by Interior Health.”

For more information, visit the Adult Abuse and Neglect page under Your Health at www.interiorhealth.ca.