Elder abuse is the abuse or neglect of an older person often perpetrated by a trusted person such as a family member, friend, caregiver, or staff in a residential setting. Victims of elder abuse often rely on the abuser for necessities such as personal care, food, shelter, transportation and companionship.
Elder abuse can appear as, or in combination with, any of the following abusive behaviours:
- Physical abuse – Any act of violence that results in physical injury or physical discomfort and pain. Physical abuse may include assault, such as hitting, slapping, pushing, unlawful confinement, and over and undermedication.
- Sexual abuse – All unwanted forms of sexual activity, behaviour, assault or harassment.
- Emotional/Psychological abuse – Any action or comment that may cause emotional anguish, fear or diminish the self-esteem or dignity of the older person.
- Financial abuse – Any improper conduct, done with or without the informed consent of the older adult that results in a monetary or personal gain to the abuser and/or monetary or personal loss for the older adult.
- Neglect – There are three types of neglect: Active, passive, and self-neglect. Active neglect is the intentional failure of a caregiver to fulfill his/her care giving responsibilities. Passive neglect is the unintentional failure of a caregiver to fulfill his/her care giving responsibilities and self-neglect means that the older person is not providing for his/her own essential needs.
What to Do if You Are Aware of Elder Abuse:
Theft, fraud, forgery, assault, forcible confinement and failing to provide the necessities of life are criminal offences. These should be reported to the police. One must keep in mind that all persons, including seniors are free to make their own decisions. This includes refusing help. If an abused elder declines any assistance, continue periodic contact. There is legislation for mandatory reporting in cases of abuse, neglect or improper treatment of residents in Nursing Homes and Homes for the Aged. Any suspicion of abuse must be reported to the Ontario Ministry of Health.
Chatham-Kent Victim Services
24 Third Street
Chatham, ON N7M 5K5
Police, Fire, EMS
In an emergency, dial 9-1-1
Call or visit your local Police Station to report incidences of domestic violence
Seniors Safety Line: 1-866-299-1011