Senior advocates claim the pandemic has made elderly people even more vulnerable to mistreatment and fraud. To warn senior citizens about the growing issue, Montreal police and the regional health authority, CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, have been knocking on doors for the past month.
Tuesday marked world elder abuse day and the final day of the campaign where CLSC Verdun Clinical Coordinator Josée Pirro said teams will travel door-to-door in the Verdun borough to talk to the elderly about public issues, “whether it’s the vaccine, whether it’s to prevent heat in those very hot and humid days,” she said.
The outreach mission’s main is to identify isolated seniors. Because of the pandemic, advocates say isolation is without a doubt the aging population’s number one issue.
Isolation is not only hard but makes seniors more vulnerable to mistreatment. According to Canadian researchers, financial abuse and emotional abuse are the most common forms. During the pandemic, seniors have been heavily targeted.
“This idea of isolation, which has been an issue for for older adults, it makes them vulnerable to exploitation and those types of fraud scams,” said notary Anna Kamateros.
Kamateros was a social worker who decided to go to law school in order to fight financial abuse. She told Global News the best way to prevent fraud is to prevent isolation.
“So if you have check ins, you have a social network, you have a community. That’s one of the biggest deterrents,” she said.
If a senior has already been defrauded, she recommends contacting the Human Rights Commission.
Last year, Quebec’s Human Rights Commission received 226 complaints regarding the exploitation of elderly and people with disabilities. Fifty-six investigations have been launched.
“That being said, once the money is out of someone’s account, it’s so difficult to find it and get it back into the person’s account,” so she said prevention is key.
The Elder Abuse Help Hotline is the number one place to call if you or someone you’re close to is being victimized. The line to call is 1-888-489-2287.