Five local members of the Seniors and Law Enforcement Together (S.A.L.T.) group spent Monday being trained in order to be able to present to other older adults in the community about elder abuse.
“We wanted it to be a peer-led presentation,” noted Cst. Anne McCoy, the local OPP’s community services officer, who is a member of the coalition.
“It was part of the strategic planning, so we decided to start the process with peer-led elder abuse awareness,” she explained.
They learned about resources and services available at organizations here, such as the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board, District Mental Health Services for Older Adults Program, and Rainy River District Victim Services Program.
For example, those being trained heard that the Older Adults Program, which serves seniors with serious mental illness, including Alzheimer’s Disease or a related dementia, provided service to 788 individuals throughout the district from March 1, 2010 to April 30, 2011, which they found to be a very high number.
“And it’s only going to get worse,” they were told.
They learned it’s important for seniors to exercise both their body and mind, as well as taking supplements, such as vitamin D, as preventive measures to stay healthy.
“It’s also good to volunteer because it gives people a purpose,” reasoned S.A.L.T. co-chair Robert Schulz.
The individuals being trained understand there is a need to bring awareness of elder abuse issues to other seniors in the area.
“It’s been very interesting, very eye-opening,” Nell Laur said about the training session.
In the afternoon, the group learned about public speaking and how to create an effective presentation.
They each had a turn to do a hands-on test run of the presentation, which they will present to the S.A.L.T. committee before heading out to the community.
The newly-trained presenters then will head to local manors to spread elder abuse awareness.
In related news, board of education staff are being trained with Level II (Train-the-Trainer) for Restorative Justice so the program can be sustained in the district.
The S.A.L.T. team also will be taught to facilitate restorative justice practices with a Level I training.