Column: Options if you see adult abuse and neglect

Have you ever witnessed adult abuse or neglect?

If you witness elder abuse, there are resources you can call. (submitted)

If you witness elder abuse, there are resources you can call. (submitted)

Have you ever witnessed adult abuse or neglect? We have. It appears in many forms. Some blatant. Some unintentional. Some mental health related. Some out of plain ignorance.

Recently one of our caregivers had concern about the relationship between a client and their adult child. The adult child was typically visiting weekly just to decompress life’s stresses and took it out on their parent — raising voice and yelling directives. Ignorance. It needed to be addressed.

We had two choices, either reporting to Island Health (previously VIHA), or gently encouraging discussion amongst the family. We decided to start with the communication strategy.

With some gentle conversation and effort on the family’s side it seems to be much better. It takes compassion and effort on all sides to find a solution. Yet, often there is ignorance, or mental health, or other factors that make it an unsuccessful outcome.

There are a few options when a friend is concerned about potential abuse or neglect. For strictly financial matters, the BC Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT) can be contacted. The PGT will typically get involved when an individual’s mental capacity is impacted, and they require intervention. Contact the BC Public Guardian toll-free through Service BC at 1-800-663-7867, or visit for more info.

Where there is psychological or emotional abuse or mistreatment, Island Health is the best resource. The call can be anonymous. For more information go online to and follow the ‘get help and who to call’ link. Alternately, you can call the Island Health General Inquiries Line for Central Vancouver Island; it’s toll-free: 1-877-734-4101.

For great support and someone to talk to about concerns, or to explore options and gather information anonymously, the Seniors Abuse and Information Line (SAIL) is a terrific resource. This toll-free phone number is a safe place for older adults, and those who care about them, to talk to someone about situations where they feel they are being abused or mistreated, or to receive information about elder abuse prevention. Call toll-free 1-866-437-1940.

The office of the BC Seniors Advocate has recently supported an upgrade to reporting and tracking adult abuse and neglect. Their next goal is to have more updated recommendations and strategies for tackling abuse and neglect of adults and seniors.

If there is someone you know who could use some information, or to report elder abuse, neglect, or mistreatment, please call one of the above numbers. Because you care.