Criminals often see older persons as easy targets for many kinds of crimes. You should be aware of these crimes and know how to prevent them.

Crime prevention tips

For your safety, make sure to:

  • Never rush into something involving your money or property
  • Be wary of something-for-nothing or get-rich-quick schemes
  • Never sign a contract until you and your lawyer, banker, or other expert has thoroughly read it
  • Never turn over large sums of cash to anyone, especially a stranger, no matter how promising the deal looks
  • Check the credentials of a salesman or public official
  • Report all suspicious offers to the police immediately, before the fraudster leaves town in search of other victims
  • Arrange for any incoming cheques to be sent directly to your bank
At Home

Protect your home with the following tips:

  • Install good locks and always use them.
  • Don't leave telltale signs that you are away.
  • Never open your door to a stranger without credentials.
  • Install a wide-angle door viewer so you can see callers before you open the door.
  • Leave exterior lights on at night or install motion sensitive lighting.
On the Street

Stay safe on the street with the following tips:

  • Walk only in well-lit areas.
  • Do not burden yourself with packages and/or a bulky purse.
  • Never display large sums of money in public.
  • Walk near the curb and away from alleys and doorways.
In Your Car

Stay safe in your car with the following tips:

  • Always lock your car after entering or leaving it.
  • If you have car trouble, raise the hood, lock yourself in and wait for the police.
  • If a stranger stops to offer help, stay in your car and ask them to call a service truck or police for you.
  • If you suspect someone is following, drive to the nearest public place (gas station, all-night restaurant) and blow your horn, or use your cell phone and call police.

Elder abuse awareness and prevention

Elder abuse occurs when a person in a position of authority or trust harms a senior citizen. That person may be a member of the victim’s family, a neighbour, nurse or caregiver. They might be a person in a position of power, such as a landlord, the executor of a will, or someone with power of attorney.

Elder abuse may be physical, financial, or through neglect. For example, a child or caregiver may push, hit or threaten the victim. A person with Power of Attorney may abuse their power and use finances for their own personal gain. Children may abuse their parents by endorsing a cheque without consent or through is neglect, where the victim is refused food, medical care, over-medicated, or forcibly isolated.

Reporting elder abuse

senior citizen leaning on handsYou can report elder abuse to the Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-855-542-1336. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of elder abuse can help stop these crimes and protect yourself or a loved one from harm.

Preventing elder abuse

You can prevent elder abuse before it happens, by following some of these tips and advice:

  • Have pension cheques deposited directly into your bank account
  • Increase the amount of training your caregiver currently has
  • Regardless of whether you're living in a private residence or an institution, it's important that you understand your rights.

You should familiarize yourself with your spouse's tasks and responsibilities. For example, you should learn how to write a cheque, balance a chequebook, what bills you pay and how to read invoices. This ensures your continued independence should anything happen to your spouse.

Plan and 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 check up you and ensure that you’re getting the proper care. 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 more than one family member can make sure that you're being taken care of financially.

Be cautious about moving in with someone, or having someone move in with you. Consider possible problems, like lack of space, stairs, noise, or loss of control.

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).

Services for seniors

Check out some of the services available for seniors in our community:

Federal Government resources:

Provincial Government resources: