Kitchener, Ontario, Canada (PRWEB) June 06, 2012
Community Justice Initiatives' Elder Mediation Service (EMS) of Canada helps families and organizations, like nursing and retirement homes, deal with conflict and abuse involving seniors. The service restores safety when abuse has occurred and assists with the implementation of practices that prevent abuse.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15th, 2012 highlights the need for programs like EMS to address and prevent the neglect and abuse of seniors.
Elder abuse is the mistreatment of an older adult by someone that they should be able to rely on; a caregiver, a spouse, a child, another family member, or even a friend. It can include physical violence, psychological harm, financial abuse, or neglect. Abuse is a misuse of power in an attempt to control the behaviour of another person.
Faced with an abuse allegation from one of their residents in December 2011, retirement home owners, Wes and Debbie Moore, called the Waterloo Regional Police Elder Abuse Response Team. The team referred the Moore’s to CJI’s EMS.
The Moore’s have been caring for seniors for the past twenty years, and never had an abuse allegation against one of their employees. They were stressed and not sure how to handle the situation.
Two CJI mediators came to The Village Manor in St. Jacob’s, ON to talk to all of their residents and staff. “They were calm and compassionate. They made everyone feel like they could be honest and tell the truth,” says Debbie. The focus of the interviews was to hear everyone’s perspective not to assign blame. “They are very good at getting to the root of the problem,” she adds.
CJI assisted the participants to resolve the conflict surrounding the accusation of abuse in a way that satisfied the resident and the resident’s family. The staff team was also pleased with the outcome. Peace and a sense of safety were restored to the home.
But CJI’s assistance didn’t stop there. EMS Program Coordinator, Wendy Meek, and volunteer mediator, Bill Brubacher assisted the Moore’s to create and implement policies and procedures to work through conflict and prevent abuse. “Our goal is to bring clients to a place where they can manage their own conflict,” says Meek. “I can’t believe what they did. They were like miracle workers,” says Debbie.
The Moore’s are pleased to know they can also call CJI for less serious situations like conflicts between staff members, and tension between residents. They can also refer families to CJI for help with health- care planning, power of attorney decisions, and end-of-life decisions.
A May 2012 Long-Term Care Task Force on Resident Care and Safety Repor t said that 3,000 cases of abuse were reported in Ontario nursing homes in 2011. (This includes resident to resident incidents). Programs like CJI’s EMS will become increasingly important as the Canadian senior population swells from 4.2 million in 2005 to a projected 9.8 million in 2036.
EMS received federal funding through a New Horizons for Seniors Program grant in 2010. In 2012, CJI received Ontario Trillium funding for 4.5 years for EMS. The program is also funded by the United Way of Kitchener, Waterloo and Area.
About Elder Mediation Service
EMS offers conflict resolution services for adults 55+ and their families or caregivers. Two mediators act as neutral third parties as participants share their perspectives and listen to each other regarding issues and decisions that affect the lives of older adults. A course of action is mutually agreed on. Families, nursing homes, retirement homes, faith communities, etc. can self-refer to this free program.
About Community Justice Initiatives
Community Justice Initiatives is a non-profit organization, located in Kitchener, Ontario, known worldwide for pioneering restorative justice services since 1974. In addition to conflict resolution for seniors, CJI mediates conflicts between victims and offenders, neighbours, coworkers, family members, and in faith communities. CJI staff and volunteers build a safer, more connected community through creative, peaceful solutions in situations of conflict or harm.