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Police academy: older-adult division

What do you do when you suspect an elder is being abused? If you forgot to take a pill, do you double up the next day? What happens when a will is probated? Did you really win a cruise?


April 11, 2017
By Brenda Tonn

 
These are some of the very common questions people have every day. The creators of Police Academy – Older Adult Division had a vision to help educate our senior population on these issues, and devised this innovative program.

Recognizing that it is of great benefit for seniors to be well informed in order for them to live safely and independently for as long as possible, the Police Academy program was originally created through the collaboration of six senior-serving agencies in Manitoba and included the RCMP, the Winnipeg Police Service and their combined grant to the New Horizons for Seniors (Federal) program. The grant and a model from the Maritime Provinces were used to develop a ‘Made in Manitoba’ resource for senior-serving agencies in Manitoba. Each year the program needs funds to hire a coordinator to promote and support organizations as they host the program throughout Manitoba.
 
The program is designed to inform and educate ‘students’ on safety and security issues. Program topics include:

  • Elder Abuse
  • Planning for Your Future
  • Personal Safety
  • Frauds & Scams
  • Safety Aid
  • Medication Safety
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Fire Safety
  • Safe Banking Practices
  • Substance & Gambling Abuse
  • Safe Driving
  • Scooter Safety

A step-by-step program package has been created to give to potential program hosts. In this package, there are instructions on how to organize the program, sample PowerPoint presentations, key contacts, sample advertising posters and much more.

As the Rural Resource Coordinator, my job is to inform rural and remote areas in Manitoba about the program, and to offer assistance along the way. I am very passionate about getting this information out there. Many times, communities are not aware of the opportunities to have speakers come out and present to them.
 
In Manitoba, we have devised a list of contacts that outline potential presenters on the various topics, while also encouraging the use of local presenters where applicable. In some instances, funding was obtained to offer small grants to hosts to help with planning costs.

The participation of local law enforcement is strongly encouraged. We urge hosts to have one or more officers involved in the program, whether they are able to be part of the planning committee, present on some of the topics or attend the graduation ceremony to present diplomas, their participation is invaluable. We believe that this program is a great way to strengthen community relations, too.

Many academies have been held in Manitoba. The feedback from attendees is amazing. Participants have indicated their appreciation for the opportunity to learn. The program has been successfully hosted in over 30 locations.

We are still faced with the challenge of reaching very remote communities, but we are working very hard to contact them.

I strongly recommend that anyone with a vested interest in their communities consider bringing this educational opportunity to their community. The benefits are many, and of course, education is power.

Brenda Tonn is the Manitoba Rural Resource Coordinator for the Police Academy – Older Adult Division program. Residing in Plumas, MB, she can be reached at: safeathome@mymts.net


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