4 Tips for Addressing Elder Abuse

4 Tips for Addressing Elder Abuse

About 10 percent of older Canadians will suffer some form of elder abuse, such as physical violence, emotional, financial, psychological or systemic abuse at some point. Most occurrences happen at the hands of family members, caregivers, or another person they trust, and these incidents are likely to become more prevalent as our aging population continues to grow.

Learn how to prevent elder abuse. Educate yourself; observe and intervene if you have concerns or suspicions. Know what to look for. Older adults who are experiencing abuse or neglect may:

  • Shows signs of depression or anxiety, become withdrawn or seem fearful around certain people
  • Have unexplained physical injuries
  • Lack food, clothing or other necessities
  • Show changes in their hygiene or nutrition
  • Have unusual withdrawals from their bank account


  • Improve accountability about what people do with your loved one
  • Share information across the circle of the care team
  • Know who has checked in at the location of your loved ones.
  • Report suspected elder abuse.
  • If the elder is in immediate, life-threatening danger, call 911

In non-life threatening situations, you can report elder abuse and seek support through the following resources:

  • Seniors Safety Line, Toll-Free: +1-866-299-1011 or simply call 211

Elder Abuse Ontario: Victim Support Line, Toll-Free: +1-888-579-2888

  • Around 1 in 6 people 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year.
  • Rates of elder abuse are high in institutions such as nursing homes and long-term care facilities, with 2 in 3 staff reporting that they have committed abuse in the past year.
  • Elder abuse can lead to serious physical injuries and long-term psychological consequences.
  • Elder abuse is predicted to increase as many countries are experiencing rapidly ageing populations.
  • The global population of people aged 60 years and older will more than double, from 900 million in 2015 to about 2 billion in 2050. http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/elder-abuse © World Health Organization

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