What is Abuse of Older Adults?

Abuse of older adults is any action or inaction by a person in a position of trust who harms the health or well-being of an older person. It can happen at home, in the community and in health care facilities. Abuse exists in many different forms. It can be physical, psychological, or sexual. Sometimes it is neglect and financial exploitation.

Research shows that the person who abuses a senior is often a family member and dependent on the older person for financial support, a place to live or emotional support.

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Signs of Financial Abuse

• standard of living not matching senior’s income
• unexplained or sudden difficulty in paying bills
• refusal to spend money without the agreement of caregiver missing possessions
• signing documents without understanding them
• unusual bank account activity by persons in positions of trust

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Help is Available

Nobody deserves to be abused or neglected. If you or someone you know is being abused, you’re not alone.

Many abused older adults are reluctant to identify themselves. They often feel embarrassed and ashamed, and decide not to take action against the people who mistreat them because they are afraid of being rejected by loved ones and forced to leave their homes. If you are being abused, help is available. There are ways to make you safer and work towards building a more respectful relationship.

Keep in mind, both older women and men can experience abuse. Older people can be abused and neglected, regardless of their cultural background. Abuse is a complex matter, and there are many factors involved.

What can I do? Where can I go for help?

If you or anyone you know is experiencing abuse, contact the Seniors Abuse Support Line. The toll-free Seniors Abuse Support Line is a confidential service for older adults who are experiencing abuse. It provides information, support and counselling. Abuse line staff can also help connect people to resources and support services available in the community.

Call toll-free: 1-888-896-7183

If you are worried about your immediate safety or the immediate safety of another person, call 911 or your local police service.

Who else can help?

• a trusted neighbour
• doctor
• clergy
• regional health authority staff
• police officer
• another person you trust

In an emergency, call 911 or your local police service.

Source: Fact Sheet | Safety for Seniors: What You Should Know
Published by Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat | Manitoba Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs