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: Seniors Academy draws to a close in Oxford, moving to Springhill in March

Cumberland RCMP Const. Angela Downey addresses senior safety and avoiding fraud during a Seniors Academy session in Oxford.
Cumberland RCMP Const. Angela Downey addresses senior safety and avoiding fraud during a Seniors Academy session in Oxford. - Christopher Gooding

Six-week program to be offered in Pugwash in May

Time is not always a virtue but a little knowledge goes a long way towards peace of mind. Especially for seniors.

Organized by the Cumberland County Senior’s Safety Program under coordinator Ray Bristol, the Seniors Safety Academy is wrapping up its six-week run in Oxford and will begin a new series in Springhill before moving to Pugwash.

During the six weeks, community seniors met at the Oxford Pioneers Club on Ellis Street, learning a variety of topics. On Feb. 20, the seniors were introduced to ground search and rescue operations in the province and the Project Lifesaver equipment used to help locate persons prone to wandering before RCMP Const. Angela Downey lead the attendees through safety tips the can do at home, online and over the phone to reduce the chances of them becoming victims of crime.

At home, elder abuse is a concern and sometimes understanding you are a victim is not always obvious.

“There are different forms of elder abuse. There’ physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect. We’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen a lot in my career but we know there is a lot that we don’t know of,” Downey said. “If you are a victim of any kind of abuse, or if you are not certain if you are a victim…some people think ‘I’ve lived like this for 60 years. This is just the norm.’ It may not be. And most likely it’s not if you are feeling like a victim.”

One area police and RCMP are seeing a rise in elder abuse is concerning, Downey said.

“In my career, I’ve seen a grandchild taking advantage of their grandmother or grandfather. That seems more common than I would like to admit,” she said. “It’s hard because the grandparent has that love for their grandchild and they want to do everything they can for them, but at the same time it’s not fair when grandma can’t afford a loaf of bread because somebody has taken the bank card.”

It’s a grandparent’s love that can often be exploited by scammers and fraudster. A common trick fraudsters use over the telephone is posing as a grandchild claiming to be in trouble, like being in jail, and asking the senior to transfer money to them for bail.

Fraud, however is not just limited to the Internet or over the phone. Sometimes it comes to your door.

“When you have contractors knock on your door and they want to fix your roof, fix your driveway, whatever they want to do – be very cautious of that. Try to get their information and don’t make a decision right off the hop,” Downey said. “Certainly, don’t pay them before the services are done.”

The Seniors Academy has one more week remaining in Oxford before turning to Springhill. Beginning March 20th at Brown’s Funeral Home, the series will take place each Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. Snacks and lunch is provided, and there is no fee to attend. When completed, the academy moves to Pugwash for six weeks beginning in May.

To learn more about the Seniors Academy or the Cumberland County Senior’s Safety Program, contact 902-667-7484 or online visit www.novascotia.ca/seniors/safety_program_cumberland.asp

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