International Human Rights Protectors Group

Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is not a crime committed by strangers. It is harm done to an older person by a relative, friend, or anyone the elder depends on for basic needs.

  • Elder abuse occurs anywhere, including homes, institutions, and health care facilities. It is a universal issue, not an issue of socio-economic standing. Elder abuse usually falls into four main categories:

    ● Physical abuse
    ● Financial abuse
    ● Neglect
    ● Mental cruelty

  • These categories usually do not exist separately or in isolation. Although not all abuse may be a criminal issue the majority are:

    ● Physical abuse may consist of assault, sexual assault, forcible confinement, murder, manslaughter. ● Financial abuse may consist of theft, theft by a person with power of attorney, fraud, extortion, forgery, stopping mail        with intent. ● Neglect may consist of criminal negligence causing bodily harm or death, failing to provide the necessaries of life. ● Mental cruelty may consist of intimidation, uttering threats.

  • Prevention Suggestions for Families and Caregivers


    Find out how your aging parent or relative wishes to be cared for if they should become dependent or require medical    care. ● Find out how they want their assets spent or maintained. ● Carefully examine your own ability to provide care for an increasingly dependent relative. ● Consult with other family members about how care giving will affect them. ● Examine the physical realities of the home into where the older person may move. e.g. is a first floor bathroom    required? ● Learn about all the community resources available to help.

    Do not:

    Take in any older relative on the spur of the moment or because you feel guilty. ● Assume that a tenuous relationship will miraculously improve when the person comes to live with you. Feel you have failed if you are unable to continue to provide home care and must seek an alternative.

  • Prevention Suggestions for Older Persons


    ● Plan for your own future when you are well and still independent. ● Make a will and review it annually. ● Have your pension and other cheques deposited directly into your account. ● Stay active in the community as long as possible.

    Do not:

    ● Revise a will without careful thought and speaking to someone you trust. ● Leave jewellery, cash, or other valuable possessions lying around the house.Make it burglar-proof. ● Rely solely on family members for your social life and care. Allow adult children to return to your home (especially if    they have drug, alcohol, or psychological problems) without carefully considering the situation and consulting others    for advice. ● Be too proud to ask for help when you need it e.g. public health nurse, church, senior centre, friends. ● Be intimidated in seeking your rights because of your age.

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