Halton Regional Police Service
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Elder Abuse & Safety Tips

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

Elder abuse occurs anywhere, including homes, institutions and health care facilities. It is a universal issue that is not impacted by socio-economic status.

There are four main categories of elder abuse. They are:

  • Physical abuse
    • May consist of assault, sexual assault, forcible confinement and/or murder
  • Financial abuse
    • Includes theft, theft by person with Power of Attorney, fraud, extortion, forgery and/or stopping mail with intent
  • Neglect
    • May involve criminal negligence causing bodily harm or death and/or failing to provide the necessities of life
  • Mental cruelty
    • Includes intimidation and/or uttering threats

These categories usually do not exist separately or in isolation.

Prevention Strategies for Families and Caregivers:

  • Do:
    • Learn how your aging parent or relative wishes to be cared for in the event they become dependent or require medical care
    • Find out how they want their assets spent and/or maintained
    • Carefully assess your own ability to provide care for an increasingly dependent relative
    • Consult with other family members about how caregiving arrangements will affect them
    • Examine the physical layout of potential homes to ensure they are appropriate (i.e. is a first floor bathroom required?)
    • Learn about all community resources available to help
  • Don't:
    • Undertake the care of an older relative on the spur of the moment or out of guilt
    • 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 provide home care at any time and must seek an alternative

Prevention Suggestions for Older Persons:

  • Do:
    • 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 your community for as long as possible
  • Don't:
    • Revise a will without careful thought and before speaking to someone you trust
    • Leave jewellery, cash, or other valuable possessions lying around your home
    • 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 and/or psychological problems) without carefully considering the situation and consulting others for advice
    • Be too proud to ask for help when you need it (i.e. public health nurse, church, senior centre, friends)
    • Be intimidated in seeking your rights because of your age

The Halton Regional Police Service has a number of programs in place to assist older persons and their families.