POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 69 can be addressed to avoid confusion and family problems, should you become incapacitated. Make arrangements with someone you trust who understands your wishes. Seek independent advice from someone you trust and who has correct information before signing any documents. Know your rights. For example, if you engage the services of a paid care provider or family caregiver, you have the right to voice your preferences and concerns. If you live in a nursing home or board and care home, you still have rights. There may be a resident/patient advocate who has knowledge and skills to mediate and assess the situation and who has the power to intervene. Take care of your health. Seek professional help for drug, alcohol, and depression concerns. Encourage family members to get help for these problems. Attend support groups for spouses and learn about domestic violence services. Educating seniors, professionals, caregivers, and the public about abuse is critical to prevention. It is important that the issue of abuse is understood, discussed by both professionals and the public and confronted in our communities. There are numerous brochures, videos and other publications available that provide information on abuse. See the Links to Education and Awareness Resources section for more information. 12. What is being done to stop senior abuse? Many organizations and communities across the province are working towards ending senior abuse. The Department of Seniors is leading the implementation of the Nova Scotia Elder Abuse Strategy: Towards Awareness and Prevention. This includes working with our many partners in carrying out the priority actions. One such action is to explore the development of networks as a mechanism for increasing awareness and responding to senior abuse at the community level. Senior abuse coalitions/networks are one approach being used in other provinces as a means to make life safer for seniors. For example, community response networks bring together individuals and groups such as social workers, nurses, lawyers, community organizations, individuals and others, including older adults. These community efforts can play an increasingly important role in educating the public and professionals. Community responses can focus on education and awareness programs as well as develop tools for communities to use in detecting abuse and to apply coordinated procedures to address abuse (e.g. protocols). No matter how communities work towards ending senior abuse, it is important to involve seniors and seniors’ organizations to ensure success. 13. How can I help stop senior abuse? Know what senior abuse involves... be aware of the warning signs and know what services are available. Some specific tips: Be aware of support services in your community. This includes social service agencies, seniors’ centres, legal services, clergy, transition houses or shelters, health centres, etc. Become a community “watchdog”. Keep a watchful eye out for loved ones, friends, or neighbours who may be vulnerable. Speak up if you have concerns. That means even if you are not sure. You have a right and responsibility to question. Become involved. Find out what is being done to prevent abuse. Volunteer with older adults in your community Support efforts and programs to increase and strengthen services in your community. About Senior Abuse . . . Continued