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Abuse of Older Adults

Abuse of older adults is an act or behaviour by anyone, including a caregiver, which results in harm to an older person’s well-being or safety. Caregivers are often family members, but include anyone who provides care to the older person in their own home or a care facility.

Issues of power and control underlie all abuse situations and the most vulnerable people are at the most risk. Abuse of older adults may take the form of financial abuse, emotional abuse, physical or sexual abuse, or neglect.

Tips for Helpers

When an older adult is being harmed, it takes courage to tell another person what is happening.

  • Be aware and acknowledge the power imbalance in the helping relationship. See the older adult as an active participant in the helping process.
  • Provide information about choices and options.
  • Reinforce that the older adult has choices, and can choose to opt out, proceed at her or his own pace, or take the lead on numerous decisions or actions.
  • Empower them to restore their sense of power and control. Empowering older adults means giving them information and helping them learn about their rights and options. Empowerment also involves including the individual in safety planning, helping them prepare for encounters with the perpetrator.

Learn more about abuse of older adults as part of Crime Prevention Week.