New toll-free number to report elder abuse

Interior Health is the first health authority in the province to introduce a region-wide number to report abuse.

  • Jun. 28, 2016 5:00 p.m.

A new toll-free number for the entire Interior Health region will make it easier to report elder abuse.

A new, confidential toll-free number is now available throughout the Interior Health (IH) region, that will allow people to quickly and easily report the mistreatment of older adults.

Anyone within the IH area who has concerns regarding elder abuse can call 1-844-870-4754, to be connected with an IH staff member who is trained to respond to such situations. As a designated agency under the Adult Guardianship Act, health authorities must investigate in person any case of suspected elder abuse reported to them.

Interior Health has always had phone numbers for the reporting of elder abuse in each community, but the toll-free number will make it easier for people reporting  abuse to connect with IH says Brett Butchart, the IH’s knowledge coordinator for vulnerable and incapable adults.

“It’s a number for all the Interior Health region,” he says. “People don’t have to find a local number; there’s one number for everything.”

He says the number is there for anyone with concerns about an elderly person being vulnerable, whether through any form of abuse, neglect or self-neglect, or health issues. It is not just for family members; someone concerned about an elderly friend or neighbour can call the number to report the situation. The names of those who call in are kept confidential.

Isobel Mackenzie, the BC Seniors Advocate, applauds the measure. “Our office has been working with health authorities about elder abuse, and making it easier to get help.” She says that Interior Health is the first health authority in the province to establish a single toll-free number to call to report elder abuse.

Elder abuse takes many forms, including physical, financial, emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse, as well as neglect or self-neglect. It can affect anyone, and can occur anywhere.

“Nobody should have to suffer silently,” says IH board chair Erwin Malzer. “We all need to stand up and speak out on behalf of those who may be unable to advocate for themselves.”

While almost 16 per cent of B.C.’s population is over the age of 65, that number is higher within the IH region (22 per cent), and is climbing. With an ageing society, it is increasingly important to educate people to recognize signs of elder abuse and provide the tools to stop it.

Butchart says that calls to the toll-free number are triaged based on the urgency of the situation—“It depends a lot on what the abuse is”—but adds that all calls are investigated.

“People have a right to live in any manner they wish, but we’re there to support them in any way we can to help them live independently for as long as possible. We want to make sure we give people the help they need.”

Just Posted

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Power out in West Kelowna

More than 1,500 West Kelowna residents are in the dark.

No Kelowna Rockets taken in 2018 NHL entry draft

NHL teams pass on three ranked players — Topping, Zabransky and Mattson

Boat for Hope back on Okanagan Lake

The Variety Children’s Charity pirate themed fundraiser returns to the waters off Kelowna

Inaugural ‘redeye’ to leave Kelowna for Toronto Saturday night

Introduction of overnight flight increases Air Canada’s Kelowna-Toronto service to twice a day

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Residents association plan gathering to discuss Pandosy waterfront park

KLO Neighbourhood Association has scheduled a public meeting with developers and city staff June 27

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

Cozy Bay to close

Summerland seafood restaurant’s lease will not be renewed

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

Reported stabbing in Lake Country

Police are believed to be investigating after a reported stabbing at a house party Friday night

COC session vote approves Calgary as potential host for 2026 Olympics

Scott Hutcheson, chair of Calgary’s Olympic bid corporation — called vote a positive step forward

Most Read