Elder Abuse Awareness Day June 15th, 2022

June 13, 2022

June 15, 2022 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It is time to raise awareness around the realities of elder abuse as a significant -and growing- public health and human rights issue. 

Cases of elder abuse are expected to rise globally, as many countries grapple with rapidly aging populations and a lack of resources to support them. If the proportion of elder abuse cases remains consistent as the global population ages, the number of victims could reach 320 million by 2050.

Research shows that between 8% and 10% of older persons are subjected to some type of maltreatment. According to Census Data from the Ministry of Finance, Ontario is likewise seeing a large demographic shift. By 2036, the number of seniors over 65 in Canada or Ontario is expected to more than quadruple, to over 4.2 million. Given the enormous increase in the number of seniors, it is critical that we take measures to prevent and support seniors who are at risk of being abused.

Types Elder Abuse

Abuse of the elderly can take numerous forms, including:

  • Physical abuse – causing bodily harm or discomfort psychological/emotional abuse – eroding a person’s sense of self-worth, dignity, and identity
  • Sexual abuse is when an older adult is subjected to sexual behaviour without their knowledge or consent.
  • Financial abuse refers to the misappropriation of finances and assets without the owner’s knowledge or consent, or when it is not in the person’s best interests.
  • Neglect — withholding or failing to provide basic essentials or care due to a lack of experience, knowledge, or aptitude.

Some Facts

One senior who has been abused is one too many. Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie when it comes to demonstrating how serious elder abuse is.

  • One out of every two people has prejudices against the elderly (Global Report on Ageism, World Health Organization)
  • One in every five Canadians believes that the elderly are a drain on society (Report on Ageism, Revera, 2012)
  • Approximately 7.5 percent of Canadians age 55 and up have been abused (Into the Light National Survey on the Mistreatment of Older Canadians, National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly, 2015)
  • Elder abuse affects one out of every six adults over the age of 60. (World Health Organization)
  • Women aged 55 to 64 years old made up the majority of femicide victims (19 percent) (Canadian Femicide Observatory’s Femicide Report for Justice and Accountability, 2020.)
  • Eight out of ten seniors say they have experienced age discrimination in the healthcare system (Report on Ageism, Revera, 2012)
  • In Ontario, calls to the Seniors Safety Line increased by 250 percent in 2020 (Assaulted Women’s Helpline, 2021).

What We Can Do

If you have immediate concerns about a seniors safetly, call the police. If an elderly person is living in a retirement home or long-term care home in Ontario, here is a link to learn about how to report it. Community Legal Education Ontario.

You can support an older person at risk by:

  • recognizing the warning signs of abuse 
  • talking to the older adult and expressing your concerns 
  • checking out the situation and finding out how you can help

For more information on what to look for and what we can do please visit the Ontario website.

The healthcare team at Promyse is committed to keeping seniors living safely and independently at home. Contact us today to find out more about our companion services for yourself or your loved ones.

More Resources

Learn the Facts – Elder Abuse Prevention

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