You know of a senior who is being victimized?
Call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)
You will remain anonymous.
You do not appear in court.
Elder Abuse is described as any action or inaction by any person which causes harm or threatens to cause harm to an older adult. Click on the scenes below to see re-enactments.
Identifying Seniors Abuse
All seniors deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. The abuse of older adults, also referred to as seniors or elder abuse, is defined as: “Any action or inaction by any person which causes harm or threatens to cause harm to an older adult”. Seniors abuse can take various forms such as physical, psychological or emotional, sexual and financial abuse. It can also be the result of intentional or unintentional neglect. A family member, a friend, a caregiver, a staff member at a care facility or anyone upon whom the older person relies on for their basic needs or services may cause the abuse.
Types of Seniors Abuse
- Physical Abuse – Pushing, slapping, kicking, hitting, over-medicating or the threat of physical force
- Psychological/Emotional Abuse – Name calling, bullying, social isolation or treating the older adult “like a child”
- Financial Abuse – Withholding or stealing money, improper use of the older adult’s money, selling of possessions
- Sexual Abuse – Unwanted forms of sexual contact, inappropriate comments
- Neglect – Denial of necessary care including nutrition, shelter, clothing or medical needs
Who are victims of Seniors Abuse?
Any older adult can be a victim. Seniors who live alone or with a family member or with a caregiver, either in their own home, shared accommodation, long term care facility or other institution have the potential to be victims of elder abuse.
Who are the Abusers?
Seniors abuse is often committed by someone known to the victim, such as a family member, friend, or caregiver. Abusers can also include neighbours, paid care providers, landlords and staff, or any individual in a position of power, trust, or authority.
Abuse happens when older adults are not valued as truly worthy human beings. This form of discrimination is called ageism. We must never allow this to happen in our family, in our community, and in our society.
All seniors deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. If you or someone you know has been abused or is experiencing abuse, you are not alone; help is available. More information is available from the following resources:
Elder Abuse Ontario Senior Safety Line
Victim Support Line
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre (previously “PhoneBusters”)
Seniors Crime Stoppers
Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres
Community Care Access Centres
Ontario Community Support Association
United Senior Citizens of Ontario
Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat
Ontario Victim Services Secretariat, Ministry of the Attorney General (OVSS)
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have several Tip Sheets for Seniors. Check them out.
It is estimated that by the year 2021, there will be as many senior citizens in Ontario as there are youth. The dramatic growth of our seniors population is unparalleled at any previous time in our history. Increasingly our seniors are more frequently victims of crime. In order to address this problem, the Ontario Association of Crime Stoppers has partnered with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services in developing a Senior Crime Stoppers program.
Seniors are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.
The Seniors Crime Stoppers initiative has been developed to address situations where seniors are being victimized by the criminal acts of others. This criminal activity is typically broken down into four sub-groups, namely:
psychological or emotional abuse
Physical/Sexual– this includes any assault and any unwanted sexual act. This may include pushing, shoving, slapping, hitting, punching, kicking, over-medicating and forcibly confining someone into a room. It also includes withholding nutritious food and appropriate personal care.
Psychological/Emotional– this included name calling, bullying, humiliating, insulting, frightening, threatening, ignoring an older adult and/or treating him or her like a child. It may also involve the removal of decision-making abilities and withholding affection and/or companionship.
Financial– involves all money and property-related matters such as forcing the older adult to sell property, theft of money or belongings. It also involves the taking and cashing of pension cheques, withdrawing extra money from a debit machine or credit card purchase. It involves any form of fraud, forgery, extortion or misusing a Power Of Attorney.
Neglect– any form of intentionally abandoning a person, withholding food, health services, prescribed medication, care, nutrition or any basic necessities of life which could include hearing aids, dentures, eye glasses, etc.
Neglect can be further separated into three types:
Active Neglect – an intentional failure of a caregiver to fulfill his/her care giving responsibilities. This may constitute a criminal offence.
Passive Neglect– an unintentional failure of a caregiver to fulfill his/her care -giving responsibilities (e.g. care related to dementia, Alzheimer’s, alcohol abuse, etc.) This may not result in a criminal charge.
Self-Neglect– the older person is not providing for his/her own essential needs, possibly due to social isolation, dementia or the misuse of medication or alcohol. This is not a criminal offense.
Elder Abuse takes place in the home, the community, Retirement Homes and in Long-Term Care Homes.
care homes for seniors
Long Term Care Homes: On July 1, 2010, the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 came into effect. It reinforces that long-term care (LTC) homes are where residents live, and must be places where they feel safe, secure and comfortable, and receive care that meets their needs – including physical, psychological, social, spiritual and cultural needs. (Ministry of Health and Long Term Care website.)
There are over 630 Long Term Care Homes in Ontario that receive funding from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to provide care to seniors. If someone has a minor complaint (non-police matter) regarding one of these facilities (e.g. cold meals, the facility is not clean enough, inappropriate services), the complainant can contact Ministry of Health Complaints Lines.
Call the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s toll-free Long-Term Care ACTION Line at 1-866-434-0144.
Retirement Homes: There are an estimated 750 privately owned and operated retirement homes in Ontario, the majority of which do not have the same regulations or inspection processes as the Government regulated Long Term Care Homes.
Approximately 323 of these retirement homes are members of the Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA). ORCA is a non-governmental agency that monitors member homes for compliance with their Association regulations.
If someone has a minor complaint (non-police matter) regarding one of these facilities, (e.g. a cold meal, unclean facility or inappropriate services), the complainant can contact ORCA at the Complaints Response and Information Service (CRIS) 1-800-361-7254.
Remember that you can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) to give informational anonymously about criminal activity.
For more information go to:
The Peel Crime Stoppers website.
The O.P.P Senior’s Assistance Team. This site gives a great deal of information of importance to seniors.
The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. This site gives all the information from the government about Long Term Care Homes and Health Care in Ontario.