Elder abuse: Kelowna man arrested after violent attack of mother

A Kelowna man is in the custody of the RCMP after allegedly beating his elderly mother within inches of her life.

  • Mar. 14, 2016 6:00 a.m.

An elderly woman is fighting for her life in hospital following a brutal assault from her own son.

The Kelowna RCMP responded to a report of an assault March 10, at 11:08 p.m. in an apartment  in the 2300 block of Baron Road and found an 81-year old woman suffering from serious and potentially life threatening injuries

“The  elderly woman was rushed to hospital in serious condition and remains in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) recovering from five broken ribs, bruising from her face to her torso and significant head trauma,” said Const. O’Donaghey.

The 61 year old suspect, the woman’s son, was also located inside the apartment that he had shared with his mother for some time.

“He was heavily intoxicated,” said Const. Jesse O’Donaghey.

“(He) had been regularly threatening the victim and taking advantage of her financially,” said O’Donaghey, revealing the details of an investigation by the Kelowna RCMP General Investigations Section (GIS).

“The suspect allegedly returned home late Thursday when he engaged in an argument with the victim which quickly escalated to a serious assault,” he said.

He was also taken to hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. He was later released from hospital and arrested by the RCMP for aggravated assault.

Violence of this kind, though unsettling, isn’t exactly news to Vi Sorenson, executive director of the Seniors Outreach and Resource Centre.

“Unfortunately, the situation that’s being referenced is probably one of the more common things that we do get calls about,” said Sorenson, who has been the executive director at the centre for 18 years.

“We often hear about family members who move home (with their parents), maybe because they have addiction problems, or health issues, and they struggling because there’s limited resources in the system… And whether their child is 30 or 60, parents want to help.”

And that’s when the difficulty can arise, said Sorenson, explaining it’s not just physical abuse seniors are facing. There are also cases of seniors being just menaced verbally or taken advantage of financially,  and that can be just as hard.

“We hear about people putting money down for a house, and then things get difficult and they don’t have their name on the title… that can be devastating,” she said.

And Sorenson predicts the situation will only get worse as individual  financial concerns grow and public resources dwindle.

“If you  have troubled people living in extreme poverty, things like this happen,” she said. “People don’t out of the blue decide to beat their mothers.”

That said, it’s not a hopeless situation. Seniors who find themselves in vulnerable positions can gird themselves by tapping into a network of friends and peers.

“That’s what provides the most protection,” Sorenson said.  “The fact they might have someone to visit them. These kinds of things puts abusers on alert.”

The trouble in Kelowna is that many people move here as a couple in their latter years, don’t build friendships and then when a spouse dies they’re left  alone.

A lot of what they do at the outreach centre is rebuild those networks, through events and meetings.

” The Ministry of Health also started a better at home program, which is managed through United Way in Lower Mainland, that is non medical home support,” she said. “We get out to help isolated seniors. They might get housekeeping or friendly visit.”

There are also transportation opportunities available for those who are without.

And, if worst comes to worst, people in need or even those who are aware of a situation that doesn’t seem right, can still call the outreach centre, Interior Health or even the police.

“Often people are embarrassed that their child isn’t doing better, and they’re desperately trying to make a difference for them when they’re able,” she said. “So sometimes somebody else needs to make a call. If they call us, we can pass on the information (to the authorities) and they don’t have to get involved .”

The centre does workshops on elder abuse each June. There, said Sorenson, seniors seniors go and can learn information that gets them their own safety net.

What is Elder Abuse:

Elder Abuse refers to the violence, mistreatment or neglect that older adults living in either private residences or institutions may experience at the hands of their spouses, children, other family members, caregivers, service providers or other individuals in situations of power or trust. Elder Abuse can manifest itself in a number of behaviors that are noticeable to those who most frequently interact with the elderly.

Different forms of Elder Abuse include:

·         Neglect (by others);

·         Physical Abuse;

·         Psychological and Emotional Abuse;

·         Economic Abuse (stealing or misusing an elderly person’s money or possessions);

·         Institutional Abuse (overcrowded, substandard and/or unsanitary living environments);

·         Violation of Rights (restricting liberty and privacy);

·         Spiritual Abuse (restricted or denied religious and spiritual practices, customs or traditions);

·         Sexual Abuse and Sexual Exploitation;

Some indicators to watch for include:

·         A sudden change in behavior or appearance;

·         A sudden onset of physical injuries;

·         A change in financial resources;

If you or someone you know is being abused, REPORT IT TO THE POLICE!

Visit the BC RCMP Website for Seniors Guidebook to Safety and Seniors at

http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pubs/ccaps-spcca/seniors-aines-eng.htm#Elder

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