Tips and Resources that May Save Your Life

July 15th 2011: Our elder abuse polled revealed that 25% of CARP Action Online readers know someone who has been abused. This article includes a list of resources for victims of abuse or for people who know someone who has been abused. It also provides resources and tips for someone who suspects that an elder is being abused and wants to help. The most important thing to remember if that if you are in danger, you MUST CALL 911.

Other Numbers You Can Call/How to Find Help

One of the best ways to find help is to go to the Department of Justice’s Family Violence Victims Services website and search the directory. The search tool allows you to search for a specific kind of service in your area and will provide you with the contact information for reputable services. You do not have to know exactly what you are looking for, you just have to know what kind of abuse you are dealing with. You can access the directory at this address:

If you suspect you may know of a fraud or scam notify the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre at 1-888-495-8801 or call the National Call Centre for Phonebusters 1-800-495-8501. If someone comes to your home or tries to impersonate a government or city official, you should make a police report.

Crime Stoppers is a civilian, non profit, charitable organization that brings together in a triparte relationship, the police services of a community, the media and the community in the fight against crime. Crime Stoppers provides citizens with a vehicle to anonymously supply the police with information about a crime or potential crime of which they have knowledge. Cash rewards are offered to people who call the program and their information leads to an arrest. To contact them dial 1-800-222-8477 or visit their website:

The Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (ONPEA) has launched a new free, confidential, province-wide phone service to assist at-risk seniors. The new Seniors Safety Line — 1-866-299-1011 — provides 24 hours a day, seven-day-a-week assistance, in 150 languages. ONPEA website’s community response unit contacts, regional police special constable contacts and regional elder abuse coalition/networks contacts

If you have legal inquiries, the Attorney General also offers a Victim Support Line which is a multilingual, toll-free information line providing a range of services to victims of crime. They offer information and referral to support services in your community, pre-recorded information about the criminal justice system and access to information about provincially sentenced offenders. You can also register for automated notification when an offender’s status changes.

You can call the Victim Support Line toll-free at 1-888-579-2888 or 416-314-2447 in the Toronto area. The service is available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

Kerby Rotary House in Calgary is the first and only full service shelter in Canada for abused seniors. It offers safe, secure shelter to older men or women over 60 years of age in Calgary and area, who are experiencing family abuse in their lives. The shelter provides crisis intervention, support, advocacy, referral, short-term housing and the necessities of daily. Unfortunately there are not enough shelters like Kerby House and specialized services such as this are not yet widely available. You can get in touch with Kerby House by calling (403) 265-0661.

The Caregiver Abuse Screen Test

Elder abuse by a caregiver is sometimes attributed to caregiver stress. Although stress is NEVER an excuse to abuse an elder, if someone you know/a family member is a caregiver and you believe they might be overextended, it may be a good idea to address this and to help them find respite options. The Caregiver Abuse Screen (CASE) is a screening tool for detecting abuse of seniors. It is intended for use with caregivers of seniors, whether or not abuse is suspected. The “Yes” responses on each of the eight CASE items may stimulate discussion that reveals abuse and/or neglect that might otherwise have gone undetected.

In addition to indicating current abuse by caregivers, caregiver responses to CASE may be indicative of tendencies and stresses that could lead to possible abuse in the future. In such cases, a proactive approach to intervention may help prevent the development of abuse. To download the CASE checklist, click here

The Indicators of Abuse (IOA) checklist

The Indicators of Abuse (IOA) checklist is another assessment tool that has been developed by experts to signal mistreatment of seniors. The IOA (pronounced Iowa) also helps sensitize the practitioner to important abuse issues. The IOA is practical for busy practitioners and useful to interveners and volunteers in cases of abuse to recognize the signs of abuse. The IOA is a summary of high-risk signals of abuse. It is not, however, a substitute for becoming knowledgeable about abuse signs through education. To download the IOA checklist, click here

Some Practical Tips to Protect Yourself from Financial Abuse

NEVER GIVE YOUR IDENTIFYING INFORMATION. Do not give out your Social Security number, date of birth, telephone number, driver’s licence, health card or passport number to anyone who comes to the door or over the phone.

NEVER GIVE INFORMATION THAT PROVIDES ACCESS TO YOUR ASSETS Do not give your credit card, ATM or bank account number or bank name.

NEVER REVEAL YOUR TOTAL ASSETS How to avoid these questions? Stall or tell a “white” lie: Say, “I can’t remember”, “my children handle all of that”. Or offer to get the information, “Let me call my son, he works for the (insert local precinct) Police Department and handles all my affairs. Come back/call back tomorrow and I will ask him to give you the information directly.”

(This isn’t rude and there is nothing “stupid” about it…in fact this is a “smart” way to be sure that people who are asking personal information are entitled to receive it.)

1. You do not have to answer the door.
2. You do not have to answer the phone.
3. You do not have to answer anyone’s questions.
4. You do not have to listen to someone talk…you can end the conversation by closing the door or hanging up the phone even while they are talking.
5. You do not have to “be nice”, especially when someone is being pushy.
Read All of the Columns from the Let’s Get Real About Elder Abuse in 2011 Series