History of Abuse Prevention Of Older Adults Network - APOAN

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In June, 1988, the Peterborough Senior Citizens Council and Peterborough County-City Health Unit hosted an information and education workshop on Elder Abuse.  The session was well attended by Peterborough and Area service providers and citizens within the community.  It initiated an interest in the issues involved in older adult abuse and a network of service providers and concerned individuals was formed.

 

The first meeting of the Network was called in September, 1988 by the Peterborough Senior Citizens Council.  The main objectives of the Network were to increase awareness of older adult abuse to health and social service providers, business and professional groups (legal, medical, law enforcement, financial), and seniors’ organization.  The Network was called the Peterborough Elder Abuse Network.

 

The Network encountered various challenges during the first several years connected to disseminating information, developing protocols, delivering training and education, and funding.  There were many changes in the provincial government and in legislation which had a significant impact on many of these issues.  No Ministry was directly responsible for addressing issues surrounding older adult abuse.  This made it extremely difficult to lobby for funding.  As well, there was no agency in health or social service that had the mandate or ‘responsibility” to address the issues of older adult abuse. 

 

With persistence and determination, the Network was able to make significant progress in several areas during the first decade of its existence:

·        A general information pamphlet was designed. There was limited circulation due to lack of funding for printing. 

·        Public awareness displays were used on several occasions.

·        An Education and Training package was prepared for the use of Network members.  The package could be adjusted to be used for professional and non-professional groups. 

·        A number of workshops were held by Network members in the community. 

 

In 1995, the Peterborough Count-City Health Unit, through the Healthy Elderly Program renewed the Network’s initiatives, bringing together some of the previous service providers as well as new members.  The Network refreshed their own knowledge base of issues involved in older adult abuse and reviewed how each member agency managed cases involving elder abuse. 

 

In 1998, the Network recognized a need to expand membership to a broader community.  Representatives from the Police, Victim Services, legal and financial communities were invited to join the Network. 

 

The United Nations designated 1999 as the ‘International Year of the Older Persons’ (IYOP) in recognition of the world’s rapidly aging population.  To celebrate, the Ontario Government provided funding for older adult initiatives.  The Peterborough Elder Abuse Network also recognized seniors and their right’ to live safely and securely at home. 

           

During this time, there were many initiatives made by the Network.  They included public education events by the Sage Age Players of Peterborough. The Sage Age Players of Peterborough are a theatre troop of older adults who volunteer their time to entertain groups as well as bring issues of older adults alive in educational presentation sessions.

 

Other activities included hosting a community forum and the development of a resource manual, which provided a common information base for agencies, seniors, and the public.  Funding for both projects came from the Ontario Community Partnership Projects Program. 

 

The forum took place in October of 1999.  The purpose of the forum was to plan a Community Response Model for addressing situations of elder abuse in Peterborough.  The model was to be a community based, older adult driven, and multi-disciplinary response to assist abused older adults.  It would be expected to enhance agency effort, reduce duplication and more effectively deliver prevention oriented strategies. 

 

Other activities that year included presentations to the Mayor’s Committee on social policy initiatives, County Council and to City Council. These presentations further increased public awareness about the Network’s initiatives and at each presentation the following two resolutions were endorsed:

 

That consistent with the direction set by the United Nations to recognize the world’s rapidly aging population, that Council recognize Peterborough County’s large older population  by endeavoring to take all measures possible to keep Peterborough County a safe, respectful and supportive place for older adults to live and enjoy independence; and

 

FURTHER THAT in keeping with the United Nations, that Council give special recognition to older adults in our community by endorsing the Elder Abuse Forum to be held on Wednesday, October 20, 1999”.

 

These resolutions demonstrated that the Network was making progress towards public awareness of the issues surrounding elder abuse. 

 

In November 1999, the Ontario Government established the Round Table for Ontario’s Elder Abuse Strategy to provide advice to the government on the development of a comprehensive provincial strategy to combat elder abuse.   The Round Table developed three working groups to assist the Government to develop practical and effective initiatives focusing on Coordination of Community Services, training for front line staff and raising public awareness. Two of the local Network’s members were invited to be part of the working groups.   

 

In January 2000, the Network began working on a proposal to hire a community response coordinator who would be responsible for helping agencies respond to elder abuse, serve individuals when an agency was  not involved, volunteer recruitment and training for educating seniors and peer support, protocol development, and education and training to the general public and professional sectors.  An application process to the Ontario Trillium foundation for funding began.

 

The Network changed their name from Peterborough Elder Abuse Network to the Abuse Prevention of Older Adults Network of Peterborough County and City in February, 2000.  The name change reflected the geographical area the Network was involved with.  It also acknowledged the correct term for “older adults.”

 

In January, 2001, the Network decided to explore the feasibility of becoming incorporated as a non-profit incorporated network.  This would enable the network to receive and issue receipts for donations. This was not possible.  Also in January, a web site was created with the support of the health unit as the host site...  The website was developed with appropriate links and known as:  http://pcchu.peterborough.on.ca/abusenetwork.htm.

The New Year also brought about plans to host the Connecting Module Training Workshops throughout the year, to both professional and non-professional groups.

The workshops were provided through the provincial government’s Round Table Strategy.

 

The Trillium Foundation application the Network began working on in the year 2000 was successful and on June 21, 2001 the Network was awarded a two year, $108,000.00 grant. The Peterborough Community Access Centre acted as the ‘lead’ agency for the Network providing administrative services and “home” for the Project Coordinator.    

 

A Project Coordinator was hired and began working with the Network in November. She began by focusing on public awareness, education, volunteers, evaluation and planning, and coordination of services.  The goal was to expand awareness utilizing all forms of media. The Project Coordinator accomplished this by attending various meetings involving issues of older adult abuse and getting onto the agenda of numerous meetings.  She also made various presentations around the community including long-term care facilities, banks, local township councils, seniors groups, and community agencies that have strong ties to the older adult population. The Coordinator also utilized skits by the Sage Age Players of Peterborough to enhance presentations through drama. 

 

Articles as well as program feature advertisements which discussed the issue of elder abuse were submitted to the Peterborough Examiner.  As well, the coordinator provided information and interviews about the Network initiatives that were published on the Peaceful Communities website.  The Project Coordinator also participated in a radio interview on AM 980 KRUZ about older adult abuse prevention and an upcoming awareness campaign. 

           

The Project Coordinator also worked with the faculty of Fleming College to develop curriculum and enhancements for programs, as well as provide opportunities for students through field placements and project assignments.  She also helped develop promotional materials, such as the ‘Falls aren’t Always Accidents’ brochure.

 

At the end of the two year Trillium grant, the Network had accomplished through the work of the project coordinator, the education and awareness aspects for the project but the coordinated community response remained to be developed.  It should be noted that the original grant application to the Trillium Foundation was for three years. Therefore it did not surprise the network that the coordinated community response was yet to be developed.  The foundation pieces for the response development were in place through the success of the project coordinator.  

 

The Network began looking for another funding source to support the completion of the coordinated community response. 

 

A successful application to the Community Mobilization Project Fund through the National Crime Prevention Strategy provided an addition year of funding for the network.  The Network was successful in hiring the Trillium grant project coordinator.  The continuity has been great for the project. 

 

The Coordinated Community Response Project Manager began in September 2004. The initiative was again sponsored by the Peterborough Community Care Access Centre who provided administrative support and a “home” for the coordinator.

 

As the grant period comes to an end in August 2005, the ground work for establishing and implementing a sustainable Coordinated Community Response agreement appropriate to the needs of Peterborough City and County will be in place. 

 

The Network also looked at how the volunteer development work could be accomplished.   Funding for a volunteer development project was sought through the Ontario Trillium Foundation.  Funding was approved in January 2005.  The Volunteer Project Coordinator will implement a volunteer development program for the Network.

 

The Abuse Prevention of Older Adults Network is designing a new, stand alone website that will serve as another information centre for individuals and agencies on the issue of older adult abuse.  With new initiatives underway, the Abuse Prevention of Older Adults is on its way to achieving its primary goal to become an active community partner making Peterborough County and City a safe, respectful and supportive place for older adults to live and enjoy independence.

 

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