What Do I Need to Know about Elder Abuse in Canada?
1 in 6 older Canadians experience elder abuse, with 1 in 3 CARP members saying they know a senior who has been abused.
Elder abuse can be physical, emotional/psychological, sexual, financial, spiritual or medical (under or over medicating).
Abuse can happen anywhere. In care facilities, residents may be particularly vulnerable due to their loss of independence, diminished physical and cognitive capacities, and proximity to many ‘strangers’ (including other residents, employees and visitors). Abuse can also take place within the home by paid caregivers or family members.
What are the signs that abuse might be occurring?
There are several signs that someone may be being abused or neglected, including, the person:
- shows signs of depression or anxiety;
- seems fearful around certain people;
- becomes socially withdrawn (less contact with people who they have been close to in the past);
- becomes passive and very compliant;
- has unexplained physical injuries (i.e. bruises, swellings, broken bones);
- vague or illogical explanations regarding injuries (whether these explanations are provided by your loved ones or the nursing-home staff);
- lacks food, clothing and other necessities;
- clothes that are ripped, soiled, or covered with blood;
- shows changes in their hygiene or nutrition (e.g. signs of malnutrition);
- suddenly becomes unable to meet financial obligations;
- has an unusual withdrawal from their bank or other financial institutions;
- sexually transmitted diseases and other unexplained infections
More information from the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal
What can I get more information or help?
We all have a role to play in protecting older adults around us who may be at risk of abuse. If you are concerned that someone is being abused, reach out and offer help. Call the police or your provincial/regional agency or helpline to talk about the suspected abuse.
Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland and Labrador
How is CARP Advocating?
Unprecedented reports of neglect and abuse in care homes and fraudulent phone calls purporting to “help” low-income seniors apply for government financial assistance have piled on top of the well-documented financial, emotional, psychological and physical abuse endured by older people across Canada every day.
Nearly 9 in 10 CARP Members believe government intervention is needed to curtail elder abuse.
Our current Liberal minority government has promised to create a national definition of elder abuse, invest in better data collection and law enforcement, and establish new penalties in the Criminal Code for those preying on vulnerable seniors.
How Can I Get Involved?
There are many ways to get involved. Find out more.