Handicap Life Dignity / Handicap Vie Dignite is a Montreal non-profit organization that improves the quality of services for disabled adults and seniors in long-term care homes throughout the province of Quebec. We spoke with Daphne Nahmiash, President, to find out more about them.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
The mission of Handicap Life Dignity is to improve the quality of services for disabled adults and seniors in long-term care homes throughout the Quebec province. We are in Montreal. We offer training and educational services to help residents, caregivers and members of users committees understand their rights and we advocate when needed on their behalf or we accompany them.
We also provide information, referrals, education, and links to resources through our website.
What problem does it aim to solve?
This organization helps to prevent and reduce mistreatment and neglect of seniors and disabled adults which has been shown to be one of the most urgent problems during the COVID 19 pandemic. We are trying to resolve it on three levels helping individuals, making Community groups aware of the importance of the problems and speaking out at a policy level we present solutions to the government and try to influence and create policies to resolve the problems.
When did you start/join it?
I started as a volunteer 30years ago.
What made you want to get involved?
My expertise as a volunteer in abuse and neglect of older adults has enabled me to work in this field. I first experienced elder abuse and neglect cases in the 1980s when I was coordinating a large homecare program in downtown Montreal. I was horrified and determined to find interventions to help reduce and prevent it.
What was the situation like when you started?
The situation in one long-term care home was particularly bad and we tried many ways to resolve it and finally enabled the victims of abusive treatment to launch through our lawyers a class action suit which took 7 years and in 2013 we won the first suit of this kind in Quebec. 8.5 million dollars were given to the people and their families as compensation.
How has it changed since?
Since Hvd has been working in this home and others to try to improve the situation. Project agora was a large project in the Long Term Care Home and HVD recently evaluated it rigorously. We were delighted to see how the situation had improved through this compensation project, which will help all of the residents and may help the home to become a model rather than an example of abuse and neglect.
What more needs to be done?
More needs to be done especially to improve the situation for all long-term care residents in Quebec as the pandemic showed clearly that many residents did not only die of poor treatment of Covid but of abusive and neglectful treatments. So our next projects will specifically address how we can and should be improving this situation for all residents and caregivers in Quebec.
How can our readers help?
Readers can help by supporting our organization, attending our awareness programs and working with us as partners to improve the quality of lives of those requiring Long term care at the end of their lives. They can also donate so that we can enlarge our ability to defend rights and advocate and accompany those who cannot speak out for themselves.
Do you have any events coming up?
On Wednesday, March 16th at 10amwe will be doing a zoom educational program organized by Seniors action Quebec on elder abuse and ageism and what society can do to help. If anyone is interested they can contact me for information at my email address at Daphnenah@gmail.com
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
My favourite charities are Montreal Alzheimer society and Mada