OTTAWA — June is Seniors Month in Ontario and the Ottawa Police Service Elder Abuse Unit is reminding everyone that seniors continue to be at risk of fraud, abuse, and neglect due to ongoing isolation during the pandemic. Although physical distancing is key to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the OPP encourages people to maintain open communication (e.g. phone or video calls, and emails, etc.) with older family members, friends and neighbours.
“Restrictions have been especially hard for seniors because they often depend on others for care,” says Cst. Hilary Rao of the Ottawa Police Elder Abuse Section. “Being out of regular contact with family, friends and community supports can make them vulnerable to scams and abuse.”
If you know of a vulnerable senior who is struggling with mental health, or needing to obtain groceries, health care or social services, you can contact 2-1-1 to connect with a number of social services in Ontario or local community resources. The Ottawa Distress Centre at 613-238-3311 or 1-866-996-0991, is also available 24/7 for mental health support and resources.
The Ottawa Police Service also has an Elder Abuse Information Line – 613-236-1222, ext. 2400 – a non-emergency information line that is managed by the Victim Crisis Unit crisis counsellors who provide information, crisis counselling, and resources to vulnerable persons and victims of elder abuse. For emergencies where the safety of a senior is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.