If you suspect Elder Abuse or know of an incident, call our general number at 613-549-4660 to make a report.
What is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse occurs when a person in a position of authority or trust harms a senior citizen. Such a person may be a member of the victim's family, a neighbor, nurse, or some other caregiver. It may also be a person in some other position of power, such as a landlord, the executor of a will, or someone with power of attorney over the victim's affairs.
Elder abuse may be physical, financial, or neglect. For example, a child or caregiver may push, hit or threaten the victim. A person with Power of Attorney may abuse their position, and use the finances for their own personal use and gain. Children may abuse their parents by endorsing a cheque without consent. Another example of elder abuse is neglect, where the victim is refused food, medical care, over-medicated, or forcibly isolated.
Reasons Why Abuse is Seldom Reported
Elder abuse is seldom identified and rarely reported to police. For this reason, it is referred to as a "hidden crime." Victims may not report incidents of abuse, because:
- They feel betrayed by the abuser, and feel ashamed of their mistreatment by family members or loved ones.
They feel embarrassment that they are in the position of being a victim.
They believe the police or other agencies can't help.
They are afraid of being institutionalized.
They are unaware of their rights.
They are afraid of what will happen to the loved one abusing them, or what will happen to them once the person who had power over their finances or other aspects of their life is gone.
Those who find that someone they know is being abused don't report it because:
They don't want to get involved
They aren't aware of what can be done
They aren't aware of the signs and symptoms of abuse
What you can do to Prevent Abuse
The Kingston Police Service will investigate and lay charges where appropriate against abusers. Victims are offered and provided with counseling and assistance. By reporting abuse, you are combating the problem.
You can also combat elder abuse before it happens, by following some of the following
Familiarize yourself with your spouse's tasks and responsibilities. For example, learn how to write a cheque, balance a cheque book, what bills you pay and how to read the invoices. This ensures continued independence should anything happen to your spouse.
Learn what your rights are. Regardless of whether you're living in a private residence or an institution, it's important that you understand your rights, and ask for advise.
Plan ahead. Ensure that a Power of Attorney exists for your finances, so that you're prepared if you ever become dependent. Before signing a Power of Attorney, check with a lawyer or public trustee.
Make sure others can verify you're being taken care of. Try to appoint an Executor to your Will and/or someone with Power of Attorney that is accessible by other family members and all parties mentioned in the Will. This will help to ensure that others can check to see that you're being taken care of financially, and have gotten everything mentioned in the Will.
Have pension cheques deposited directly into your bank account.
Increase the amount of training your caregiver currently has.
Be cautious about moving in with someone, or having someone move in with you. Consider possible problems, like lack of space, stairs, noise, loss of control, etc.
Be cautious about permitting adult children back into your home to live (especially if those children have a history of drug, alcohol, financial or psychological problems)
Be aware of services available in your area, and take advantage of the services you need.
Some websites that may be of service are:
Federal Government Links: Government of Canada
- Government benefits
- National Seniors Council
- Services for Seniors
- Service Canada
- Seniors Canada
- Guide to Government Services
- Safety for Seniors
- Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
- Industry Canada - Canada's Office of Consumer Affairs
Public Health Agency of Canada
- Aging and seniors
- Division of Aging and Seniors
- Abuse and Neglect of Older Adults - a discussion paper
Provincial Government Links:
- Mininitry of Health and Long Term Care
- Ontario Senior Secretariat
- Ministry of the Attorney General & Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee
- Ministry of the Attorney General & Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (Power of Attorney/Vulnerable Adults) publications
- Substitue Decisions Act, 1992
- Substitue Decisions Act, 1992 Ontario Regulation 26/95
Elder Abuse Networks:
- International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA)
- Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (CNPEA)
- ·Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (ONPEA)
- Canadian Association of Retired Persons 50 Plus
- Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health (CCSMH)
- Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE)
- Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)
- Old Persons Mental Health and Addictions Network (OPMHAN)
- Canadian Bankers Association
- National Crime Prevention Council - Seniors
- National Crime Prevention Council - Senior Fraud
- National Crime Prevention Council - Identity Theft
- North Carolina Department of Justice - Scams & Frauds
- WISER Special Report: Senior Fraud
- SAFE: Preventing Senior Fraud
- AARP - Preventing Identity Theft: Could This Be Your Story?
- CBS News Videos - Senior Scams
- National Fraud Information Centre - Fighting Fraud Against Older Consumers
- How to Detect and Avoid Elder Fraud