What Is An Addiction?

Facing Elder Abuse

  • Many elderly people wish to be treated warmly and have their children and /or grandchildren around them.
  • Unfortunately, for many seniors, the golden age is a difficult time; a time of failing health, reduced income, and the loss of a meaningful role in family and society. These matters can create great unhappiness for the elderly and also can lead to abuse.
  • Many new immigrant elderly face a lot of pressure due to financial, living, and language changes. Usually, victims of elder abuse are dependent on the abuser in some way.
  • Without social support, seniors who suffer from senior abuse may be neglected.

Types of Elder Abuse

Physical Abuse:
Physical assault includes slapping, pushing or beating an elderly person.

Mental abuse:
Humiliating, insulting, frightening an elderly person, and/or forced confinement in a room, bed, or chair/wheel chair.

Deliberately failing to give elderly who is dependent what he/she needs. Abandoning an older person, withholding food, or not giving or giving too much medication.

Sexual Assault:
Sexual acts or behaviours towards an elderly without her/his consent

People who commit physical assault, sexual assault, and forced confinement are committing crimes that are punishable by law.

Who are vulnerable to elder abuse?

The elderly who are unable to take care of his/her own health needs, require constant care, and/or financially dependent are most vulnerable to abuse. These include living with families, in long term care facilities and/or hospitals. Even elderly who are mentally competent and capable of taking care their own needs, can be vulnerable to elder abuse.

What are some of the signs and symptoms of elder abuse?

Victims of elder may show sings of:

  • Unexplained physical injuries, poor hygiene, and/or urine/bed sores.
  • Depression, fears, anxiety, and/or withdrawing from group activities.
  • Unable to explain withdrawals from banks, loss of processions, fraud, and/or forgery of documents.

How to seek help?

A great deal of elder abuse is not reported because the victims are afraid of what the abuser will do to them if they report it, and some of them are completely under the control of the abusers, and depend on the abusers for food, shelter, clothing and health care.

If you know someone is being abused, you can get advice or help from community agencies and professionals. You can also provide information to the elderly and respect their decision.

Donít think that reporting or encouraging seniors to get help is interfering in other peopleís business. Actually, it shows youíre concerned and sensitive, which helps to prevent tragedy, promote the well being of elderly, and enrich the quality of family life.

© 2002, Chinese Family Services of Ontario,
All Right Reserved