Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Interview with Martha Jane Lewis, BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support

CNPEA: Tell us a little bit about your project.

This project is funded by the Law Foundation of BC to produce an e-book describing the legal issues that affect people living in residential care in BC. Residential care is called different things in different provinces; in Ontario for example, it is called long-term care. What it refers to in BC is supportive housing provided to people who can no longer live in their own home who have been assessed and approved for residential care. We are creating the e-book to inform people of the legal issues: who has the right to make a decision, who can give consent and ways that problems can be resolved. The problem solving section is important because people do not often stay in residential care for long. This means solving an urgent, day-to-day problem through a formal legal means that could take up two years does not make sense. What this e-manual will provide are reasonable questions that residents and their family can ask to problem solve outside of the courthouse.

CNPEA: What else will the E-book cover?

The manual will contain units of information such as:

  • Governing Regulations
  • Legal Issues affecting entering a residential care facility
  • Living in residential care: Residents’ rights, standard of care, professional care, informed consent, physical and chemical restraints, detention, informed consent
  • Remedies for how to resolve common problems arising in residential care facilities
  • Decision making: power of attorney, representation agreements
  • Consent: treatment decisions
  • CNPEA: How did you come up with the idea to develop this E-book?

The model is based on the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE) in Ontario Long Term Care Manual that has been widely used for many years by Ontario long-term care providers, legal professionals and advocates. ACE has as excellent elder law clinic and the manual itself is an amazing resource at over 900 pages. We knew what ACE had accomplished and we wanted to produce something similar in BC.

CNPEA: Who would use the E-book? Is there a particular audience?

The E-manual will be a valuable tool for our staff, the general public, care home staff and anyone else who wants to learn about legal issues related to residential care in BC.

CNPEA: What do you find most interesting about this project?

There is no similar resource in BC and it is really easy to get confused within the residential care system. We hear that residential care home management gets calls about residents after the resident has died. It seems that families are sometimes afraid to complain. You hear cases of family members being banned from facilities for complaining about the standard of care provided. Residential facilities need to be really open and invite feedback from families. This is a real challenge partially because staff may be defensive in receiving feedback and turnover of care-giving staff is high because it is exhausting work. Residential care homes can be very confusing for families. This project is about making information available and accessible. The guide can help both families and staff members learn their rights and responsibilities and clarify what level of care an older adult is entitled to.

CNPEA: How will this manual help prevent elder abuse?

The manual provides information that is helpful in describing what the vulnerable people who live in res care homes are entitled to. It helps families or others who care about a resident strategize about how to effectively approach the right person to discuss concerns. Abuse happens when an older person’s rights are ignored: the manual supports people to take action when they are concerned about a resident senior. It also helps ensure the senior is getting the right care, which helps prevent abuse and neglect. The manual is also useful to people managing or working in res care homes, as it explains what is reasonable, and why families may be hesitant to raise their concerns. All this contributes to a problem-solving environment that is more informed, compassionate and responsive. This helps keeps seniors safe, because when communication breaks down because family members are upset about the treatment of a loved one, the senior can get alienated from those very people who care about her the most and want to make sure she or he remains safe in a long term care setting.

CNPEA: Where can people go for more information?

The E-manual will be released this summer. For more information about BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support project and resources visit

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
Interview with Jemma Templeton, YWCA Metro Vancouver CNPEA: Tell us a little bit about your project.

Jemma: On May 4, 2012, YWCA Metro-Vancouver was chosen to undertake a new project called Community Action on Elder Abuse (CAEA), funded by The New Horizons for Seniors Program. This is a 3-year initiative that runs from 2012-2015. The goal of CAEA is to develop culturally-appropriate training and resource materials for front-line/volunteer service providers whose clients include seniors.The project has created a train-the-trainer awareness course on taking action against abuse of older adults that supports front-line staff and volunteers to identify potential abuse and/or neglect of seniors. The project aims to enable front-line staff and volunteers to response appropriately to concerns about abuse and neglect by supporting them to communicate effectively and direct seniors to culturally appropriate resources.

CNPEA: How did the YWCA develop the Community Action on Elder Abuse Project?

Jemma: As an organization reaching so many individuals in the community, we felt compelled to utilize our position to address the critical issue of elder abuse, and explore relevant strategies we can utilize through our networks. A Seniors Advisory Committee guides the project. The development of materials has been based on data from three senior led focus groups with First Nations seniors, seniors who work with seniors and a cross-cultural seniors group. The program itself is very unique and based on adult education methodology. It features interactive case studies, role-play, small group work and individual work. The selected train-the-trainer course candidates have the opportunity to enhance their facilitation skills, as the training program requires each facilitator to deliver an elder abuse awareness presentation to the training group, using the slides that are a part of the CAEA Power Point presentation. So by the time they have completed the course, in essence, they are taking ownership of the workshop that they will deliver to their front-line staff/volunteers when their certified train-the-trainer course is completed.

CNPEA: What do you find most interesting about this project?

Jemma: Being a national project, the Project Coordinator and I have had the opportunity to travel across Canada to deliver the train-the-trainer course. It is a privilege to meet the wonderful staff supporting and advocating for the needs of older adults. It is exciting to provide a new training opportunity that is reaching communities that are diverse, multicultural, rural and remote! In last year’s program, we had participants travel all the way from Haida Gwaii to Prince George, Dawson Creek to Burnaby to receive training that they delivered to front-line staff/volunteers in Bella Coola. We have had an abundance of positive support for our train-the-trainer course throughout Canada.

CNPEA: What methods have you used to engage communities? Could you recommend any successful community engagement strategies?

Jemma: It is essential to go out and meet in person the staff and volunteers who support older adults, and to connect with the seniors who access those essential services. For me, this meant researching events, getting out from behind the desk and spending time in the community. This makes such a big difference: when you are actually in the community you are able to find out who’s doing what, brainstorm solutions together and create informed, good quality projects.

CNPEA: What is important for people to know about your project?

Jemma: CAEA is in its final year and I strongly encourage all service providers (managers, supervisors, coordinators) to take advantage of this free training opportunity while it is still available. This project will strengthen the capacity of front-line staff/volunteers at community organizations in Metro Vancouver, key regions of British Columbia and in selected communities across Canada to detect and address elder abuse and/or neglect. Our website also features a resources section with our project materials that are available to access for educations purposes: YWCA Community Action on Elder Abuse Facilitators Guidebook; a brochure in 7 languages; and a standard policy and procedures template on responding to abuse of older adults—free to download. To register for a training event or get more information on the CAEA project go to:


Publishing Criteria

Any resource posted on the Hub is first screened based on the publishing criteria. If you wish to share a resource with the community, please ensure that it fits the requirements and email it to us. We usually post material within 72hrs of receiving it. 

Publishing Criteria

Invitation to Contribute

Become a contributor to the hub!

  • Share your ongoing projects, research updates and favourite tools
  • Announce your upcoming events
  • Tell us about promising practices and initiatives via a blog post.

Check out our publishing criteria or email us for more information 

Thank You to Our Supporters and Sponsors

CNPEA would like to thank our generous sponsors who contribute to the sustainability of our knowledge-sharing hub

Screen Shot 2015 07 23 at 9.54.16 AM