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Elder Abuse

Canadian research shows that four to 10 per cent of older adults have been victims of one or more forms of abuse or neglect. These include physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and financial abuse. Often the abusive people are family members or other caregivers.

What are the signs of Elder abuse?

Older adults who are victims of abuse or neglect may:
 
  • tell you they are being harmed
  • show signs of depression or anxiety
  • seem fearful around certain people
  • become socially withdrawn (have less contact with people they were close to)
  • become passive and submissive (are less likely to act on their own or defend themselves)
  • have physical injuries they can’t explain
  • not have enough food, clothing and other basic things they need
  • show changes in hygiene or nutrition (ex: not washing regularly, losing a lot of weight)
  • be unable to pay bills or have no spending money
  • have unusual withdrawals from their banks (ex: large amounts taken out at one time)
 
If you are being abused, you:
 
  • do not deserve to be abused
  • have a right to live without fear
  • are not to blame for the violence or the threats
  • have the right to a safe, healthy environment and caring relationships
  • have the right to control your own life and make your own decisions
 
There are things you can do to plan for your safety.
 

Be Prepared with a Protection Plan. Think Ahead. 

When making a protection plan, you need to think about:
  • how does the person behave before an attack? What signs can you watch for? Are alcohol or drugs involved?
  • what help is available (ex: crisis line 1-877-977-0007; someone you can trust to help)
  • all possible escape routes from your home
  • a safe place where you can go (ex: a shelter; home of a friend or family)
  • how you will get to the safe place (ex: car, bus, someone who’ll pick you up)
  • how to get to a phone to call for help (ex: get a cell phone; keep change handy for a pay phone)
  • who to call if you are in immediate danger (the police at 911)

Note – Manitoba shelters can provide women, men and children with free transportation to an emergency shelter.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911 and leave immediately if you think it is safe to do so. Don’t take anything with you – just leave immediately!

If you are not in immediate danger and have time to pack a few things before you go, you should probably pack:

  • cash, bank and/or credit cards
  • identification (ex: birth certificates, driver’s license, health card, passport)
  • keys – for your house and/or car
  • personal items – medication, glasses, clothing and toiletries

Along with writing down and practising your protection plan, there are other ways to keep safe:

  • Talk about your plan with other family members who may be at risk.
  • Find a good counsellor or a trusted person to talk to.
  • Practise evacuating your home, in case you need to do it quickly.
  • Set a secret code with people you talk to regularly on the phone as a signal you’re in danger - something you can say that will not alert the person behaving abusively. For example, “I crave blueberry ice cream.” could be a signal for the person on the line to call 911 right away and send the police to you.
 
Agencies funded through Family Violence Prevention Program work with adults of all ages, including seniors.
 
For more help, call:
 
Seniors Abuse Line

1-888-896-7183 toll free

Protection for Persons in Care Office 204-788-6366 Winnipeg
1-866-440-6366 toll free
Age &Opportunity: Support Services for Older Adults
204-956-6440 Winnipeg

Without help, abusive relationships only get WORSE.

Help is available

Contact one of the resources (see link below) for more information and find out how to create your own protection plan. If you are in an abusive relationship, or you know someone who may be, call 1-877-977-0007.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911


Where can I go for help?