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.

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

Penticton’s second Snakebite festival hits the screen Jan. 31

Snakebite Film Festival showing LBGT, Indigenous and other diverse films

Crosswalk coming to intersection near Penticton events centre

After years of plans a crosswalk is expected to be built on Alberni Street on Highway 97 this year

South Okanagan dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Vaseux Lake ‘crux’ in Osoyoos to Penticton trail

Regional directors heard Thursday the highly sensitive area of Vaseux Lake is challenging for trails

Similkameen Karaoke for Unist’ot’en Camp a huge success

A crowd met on Blind Creek reservation near Cawston sang their hearts out and raised $ for Unist’ot’en

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read