POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 67 10. What legislation exists in Nova Scotia to protect seniors from abuse? Nova Scotia has two specific pieces of legislation of direct relevance to preventing and responding to abuse of older adults: the Adult Protection Act and the Protection of Persons in Care Act. Adult Protection Reporting known or suspected cases of abuse against a vulnerable adult is mandatory in Nova Scotia. The Adult Protection Act serves to protect people aged 16 years or older who are abused or neglected and cannot physically or mentally protect or care for themselves. It creates an obligation and legal responsibility for any person to report suspected abuse or neglect. The Act protects the person who reports abuse unless the information is given maliciously or without reasonable and probable cause. If financial abuse occurs at the same time as other forms of abuse, Adult Protection workers may be able to intervene and offer services to help those in need of protection. In cases where the situation only involves financial abuse, Adult Protection workers can refer individuals to an authority that can help safeguard his/her financial interests. The Nova Scotia Department of Health administers Adult Protection Services within the Continuing Care Branch. About 75% of persons assisted under the Act are seniors. More information on Adult Protection Services can be found at If you know or suspect an adult is need of protection, call Adult Protection Services at 1-800-225-7225. Protection of Persons in Care The Protection of Persons in Care Act aims to protect individuals in care and applies to hospitals, residential care facilities, nursing homes, homes for the aged or disabled persons under the Homes for Special Care Act, and any other institution or organization deemed a “health facility”. The act creates a duty for those employed in the administration of a health facility to protect patients and residents from abuse or neglect. It includes a mandatory reporting provision for service providers and a voluntary reporting provision for all others. This act came into effect on October 1, 2007. You can report known or suspected cases of abuse or neglect in any of these facilities to the Protection of Persons in Care office at the Department of Health at 1-800-2257225. 11. How can senior abuse be prevented? As with all forms of violence, abuse of older adults can be prevented. We must: Challenge ageist attitudes and beliefs that devalue older adults. Treat older adults with the respect and dignity they deserve. Work with older adults to empower them to make healthy relationship choices. Offer alternatives to remaining in abusive situations. Enhance informal support networks. Ensure seniors retain as much power and control over their own lives as possible. Provide information on services and programs available to assist. Encourage caregivers to access support available to them. Educate ourselves and others about senior abuse. We must also foster positive relationships between generations and provide support to those caring for and supporting seniors. For seniors, some simple but essential steps you can take to reduce the risks include: Maintain as much control and power of your life as possible. Stay active in the community and connected with friends and family. This will decrease social isolation, a known risk factor for senior abuse. Plan for your future. With a power of attorney and a health care directive / living will, health care decisions About Senior Abuse . . . Continued Continued