Becoming more aware of elder abuse

Financial abuse is the most common form of elder abuse

By Sandra Holmes

One in five Canadians believes they know of a senior who might be experiencing some form of abuse, according to a government of Canada pamphlet.

The pamphlet, “Elder Abuse, It’s Time to Face the Reality,” is available in the Seniors Room at Dutch Lake Community Centre.

Elder abuse is any action taken by someone in a relationship of trust that results in harm or distress to an older person.

Financial abuse is the most commonly reported type of elder abuse.

Financial abuse includes actions that decrease the financial worth of an older person without benefit to that person and may include, misusing or stealing the seniors assets, cashing an elder’s cheque without authorization, forging a signature or sharing an elders home without paying a fair share of the expenses.

Being a junior senior, helping my senior senior mother at the bank machine the other day made me realize the complexities around perceptions others may have when witnessing the interaction between two older women at a bank machine.

“I can’t make this machine work.” “Show me what you are doing, Mom” “I was told I could tap it and money would come out.” “You need your bank card number.” “I don’t remember my number. I was told I could tap it.” “That is just when you buy your groceries.” “I will watch and see what this man is doing.” “You can’t watch someone else do their banking.” “But I want to….”

With feelings of frustration, embarrassment and sadness at Mom’s decline I spoke firmly to her and we left to get her groceries.

Changing this conversation could have happened had I not experienced my own senior’s moment and recalled her bank card number.

Good thing we all have a good sense of humor and can recount with laughter our experience. I wonder what others perceived.

– With the aid of a New Horizons for Seniors’ grant, Wells Gray Country Seniors Society brings awareness to seniors’ issues with a series of articles supporting WGCSS program called Seniors Taking Charge: Elder Abuse Prevention.