What is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse is harming or assaulting people who are over 65 years of age. Elder abuse is usually committed by family members, close friends, acquaintances, staff at nursing homes/long-term care facilities and/or any individual who they depend on for their livelihood. In other words, people who abuse the elders are usually people who are in a position to control, have a significant impact over, or who are well-known and trusted by the elderly. The act of neglecting the elderly is also a form of abuse. Elders who are being abused usually show the following symptoms:

  • Depression, fear, anxiety and/or passive behaviour
  • Dehydration from lack of eating
  • Unhygienic, and have a rash or inflammation on the skin
  • Overly calm
  • Losing personal belongings, such as money, jewelry, or dentures without any particular reason

Type of Elder Abuse

Physical Abuse

  • Hitting or pushing
  • Locking in a room or forcing to remain in a certain place, such as a bed or chair

Sexual Abuse

  • Sexual assault or forcing to engage in sexual activity

Financial  Abuse

  • Forced to sell properties or belongings
  • Stealing money, pensions and/or belongings
  • Misusing Power of Attorney
  • Fraud, counterfeiting, extortion


  • Not providing adequate food or leaving them without appropriate health care or treatment
  • Intentionally not fulfilling the needs of the elderly

Emotional Abuse

  • Embarrassing, threatening, ignoring, insulting
  • Treating the elderly as a child

Reasons for unreported Elder Abuse

Elderly victims are generally reluctant to report while being abused, for the following reasons:

  • Fear of possible retaliation
  • They are controlled by the perpetrators and depend on them physically, emotionally and financially
  • They are embarrassed to disclose that they are being abused by their family members
  • They believe that police or social worker cannot do anything to change their situation

How to prevent elder abuse?

  • Know your rights and seek appropriate advice
  • Prepare in advance by assigning a Power of Attorney (POA) who can take care of your finances, but consult with a lawyer first
  • Be familiar with your financial situation and be cautious when you are in a situation of lending money
  • Make sure pension checks are deposited directly into your bank account
  • When inviting someone to live with you, do a thorough screening of the person in advance.
  • Be familiar with benefits and services available (e.g. Meals-on-Wheels, special transit services, etc.)

Provincial Contact List

In an emergency, contact 911 or your local emergency services (Police, Fire, or Ambulance)

Ontario Provincial Police
1-888-310-1122 (24 hour toll-free)

Toronto Crime Stoppers
1-800-222-TIPS (8477)

Ministry of the Attorney General’s Victim
1-888-579-2888 (toll-free)

Victim Support Line or in Toronto

Seniors’ InfoLine
1-888-910-1999 (toll-free)
/ 416-314-7511 (Toronto) /1-800-387-5559 (TTY)

Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse

Advocacy Centre for the Elderly

Ontario Association of Community Care Access Centre

Retirement Home Complaints Response and Information Service

Long-Term Care ACTION Line 
1-866-434-0144 / 1-800-387-5559 (TTY)

Find Out More

For more information on elder abuse and access to publications, please visit:

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