Montreal police say door-knocking initiative led to rescue of abused 75-year-old grandmother

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Montreal police say a door-knocking campaign intended to identify vulnerable seniors in the context of the pandemic led to the arrest of a 28-year-old man who had been living with his 75-year-old grandmother and had allegedly been physically, financially and psychologically abusing her for two years.

The grandson was charged with assault following the intervention and the elderly woman was offered assistance through the Crime Victims Assistance Centre and her local CLSC.

It’s just one of the stories highlighted in the review of the second edition of the “Visit an isolated senior citizen” campaign to help identify seniors in need of help.

This year, police knocked on more than 21,000 doors between May 15 and June 15, up from 13,500 door knocks in 2020.

Started last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the initiative partners police officers with volunteers from local organizations to help seniors living in precarious situations by connecting them with resources in their community.

In total, police carried out 188 door-to-door operations this year and spoke with 4,794 people aged 65 and older with the help of 89 partner organizations, up from 32 in 2020.

There were two “criminal mistreatment” events during this year’s campaign, according to police.

Police had to do 33 follow-ups with seniors, compared to 14 last year, for issues such as health, psychosocial, and community services. The majority (21) were for home support or personal hygiene assistance, while seven were for psychological support.

Three seniors visited required a hospital visit, including one man with emphysema who lived alone on the third floor of a building without an elevator and couldn't leave his home.

“In addition, the number of reports of possible situations of elder abuse has increased this year," police said in a news release.

“Citizens met, whether parents, relatives or neighbors, reported cases where people could experience such situations in their area. With the information gathered, the police will be able to prevent cases of elder abuse, or intervene with victims, refer them to the appropriate resources or support them through the legal process, if necessary.”

The initiative is expected to be back for a third year in 2022.

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