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Watch Out for Well-Attired Caregivers

21 Jul

Sadly, elder abuse is far more common than most of us realize. It’s certainly not an unfamiliar concept to me. Both my mother and my late uncle were victimized by paid caregivers.

A few years ago,  my brother and I were given three hours notice that my mother was to be released from hospital but would require around-the-clock care for several months. We didn’t have a clue how to hire a care giver. All we knew was my mother really wanted to go home and the hospital wanted its bed back.  Lorna was the only applicant I spoke with and I hired her immediately. She seemed trustworthy and competent. And she was immediately available.

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My Little Black Book

17 Jul

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If someone you love is living in a long term care home, chances are you have a version of my little black book. I have another one for my mother, but I kept this one next to my bedside phone so I could scribble down notes for the many calls I took relating to my uncle.

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Every Day Should Be World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

15 Jun

Saturday, June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  Here in Ontario, the Seniors Secretariat is asking everyone to wear something purple today to raise awareness. I’m not convinced anyone is going to connect wearing purple with this important issue. So wear whatever color you want. Instead, check up on the seniors in your life.  And if a situation gives you reason for concern about potential elder abuse, do something about it before the situation gets out of hand and take action.

Elder Abuse is far too real. Of the 1.5 million seniors living in Ontario, research from the  Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse,  indicates four to ten percent (60,000-150,000) have experienced or are experiencing abuse of some kind. Hardly surprising, financial fraud is the most common form of elder abuse.

Seniors Crisis Lines exist in most metropolitan areas. If you live in Toronto and have concerns about a senior, the number is 416-619-5001. In Ontario the Seniors Safety Line can be reached by calling 2-1-1 or 1-866-299-1011. The line is manned 24/7 and the staff is able to provide service in 150 languages.

How Social Media May Help a 92-Year-Old Avoid Eviction

10 Jun

Across the Divide started as an assignment for a course I was taking on digital communication. As a veteran PR type, I had taken to this new way of doing things somewhat reluctantly but knew I had to get on board or be left behind. Stories like this illustrate how social media can and will play a greater role in the lives of seniors. 

Jacyln Fraley’s online fundraising campaign  to help her grandfather, 92-year-old Jack Potter of Zaleski, Ohio, avoid eviction from the home he built stood out to me for several reasons. As you will see, efforts to help Mr. Potter combine the subjects of  social media, aging, elder abuse, abuse of power or attorney,  and family discord. The person doing the evicting is Mr. Potter’s daughter and Ms. Fraley’s mother.

Ms. Fraley used the online site gofundme.com in hope of raising $125,000  to put an offer on the house so the deed can revert back to her grandfather’s name. In the end, complete strangers donated more than $138,000.

We often think seniors and social media don’t mix. But I’m certain this story is only one example of how it can be used to help seniors or combat elder abuse.  If you know of one, please share.

Crimes Against the Elderly

15 Mar

The other day I awoke to a phone call from a stranger wanting the phone number for my late uncle’s private caregiver. My caller was desperate. Her 86-year-old father’s most recent caregiver had swindled him out of a large sum of money  involving tens of thousands of dollars. And then she left, leaving the man depressed and unwilling to eat or drink until he became so dehydrated he had to be hospitalized. Her story was sad, but what was most shocking to me was this woman had no idea her father’s caregiver was engaging in elder abuse. In fact, she had no idea there even was such a thing as elder abuse.

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