WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY
June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which focuses attention on the need for everyone to take responsibility in preventing elder abuse.
ONTARIANS FACING ELDER ABUSE
20% of the 65+ senior population have either experienced or are experiencing elder abuse.
- 62.5% experience financial abuse
- 35% experience verbal abuse
- 12.5% experience physical abuse
- 10% experience neglect
WHAT IS ELDER ABUSE?
“The physical, psychosocial or financial mistreatment of a senior.”
Medication Abuse (e.g. the misuse or withholding of medications), denying fundamental rights and freedoms and abandonment
Types of abuse
WHERE ELDER ABUSE HAPPENS
- At hospitals
- At retirement homes
- At long-term care facilities
- At home
In health care institutions:
- 20% of staff witnessed abuse of residents in long-term care settings
- 31% of staff witnessed rough handlings of patients/residents
- 28% of staff witnessed workers yelling and swearing at patients/residents
- 28% of staff witnessed embarrassing comments being said to patients/residents
- 10% witnessed other staff hitting or shoving patients/residents
Abusers can be:
- family—particularly adult children or grandchildren
- paid care providers
- staff or any person in a position of trust and authority
WHY IS ELDER ABUSE UNDERREPORTED?
A lot of older people aren’t willing to report abuse because they:
- are afraid of what the abuser will do to them if they report abuse
- depend on the abuser for food, shelter, clothing, and healthcare
- fear they will be put into an institution like a long-term home
WHAT CAN WE DO?
- Call the police if you have immediate concerns about an older adult’s safety. The law requires reporting of abuse by anyone who knows, or has reasonable grounds to suspect that someone in a long-term care home or a retirement home has been, or might be, harmed.
- Talk to the older adult and express your concerns
- Check out the situation and find out how you can help
Seniors Safety Line is a 24/7, confidential and free resource that provides information, referrals and support in over 150 languages for seniors experiencing abuse. Call 1-866-299-1011 for support.
- Ontario Human Rights Commission. Elder abuse & neglect.
- Ontario Legislative Library. Elder abuse prevention laws. (Office of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario: Toronto, 1999)
- Elder Abuse Ontario. Elder Abuse Ontario Fact Sheet.
- Canadian Nurses Association. Elder Abuse.
- Community Legal Education of Ontario. When does elder abuse have to be reported?