Seniors Safety Line

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What is Abuse?

Elder Abuse is defined by the World Health Organization as “a single, or repeated

act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is

an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person.”


Elder abuse often occurs when there is an imbalance of control. The abuser

either limits or takes control over the rights and freedoms of the senior.

The abuse/violence is used to intimidate, humiliate, coerce, frighten or simply

to make the senior feel powerless. There are many forms of elder abuse, see

below for the description of the abuse and actions/behaviours associated with

the abuse.


Types of Abuse


Physical Abuse

•  Pushing

•  Shaking

•  Hitting
•  Under-medicating

•  Over-medicating (chemical restraint)
•  Restraining or improper use of restraints

•  Physical coercion

•  Forced feeding








Emotional (Psychological) Abuse

•  Insulting

•  Threatening

•  Humiliating
•  Verbal (yelling)

•  Emotional deprivation

•  Isolating from family/friends
•  Removal of decision making

•  Infantalization (treating  older person like a child)

•  Removal of decision-making power












•  Wrongful use of power of attorney

•  Theft of property

•  Improperly withholding pension cheques or other money

•  Fraud

•  Forcing the sale of property or possessions











Sexual Abuse

•  Unwanted sexual touching

•  Forced sexual touching

•  Sexual harassment
•  Rape

•  Lack of personal privacy

•  Fondling of a confused elder

•  Exposing oneself to the elder



•  Denial of adequate nutrition

•  Denial of medical attention

•  Denial of proper shelter

•  Denial of clothing

•  Inadequate hygiene

•  Inadequate supervision or safety precautions

•  Denial of necessary services

•  Abandonment

•  Denial of assistive devices (cane, wheelchair, walker, glasses etc)


Systemic Abuse

•  Discrimination (age, race, gender, language, religion, sexual orientation economic

    status, ethnicity, or geographic location)


Violation of Rights

•  Censoring or interfering with a person’s mail

•  Withholding information to which a person is entitled

•  Restricting liberties, not allowing the elder to go out and/or socialize

•  Denying privacy, visitors, phone calls, or religious worship and spiritual practices




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