Abuse of seniors may involve mistreatment or violence, or even neglect. Abuse can be at the hands of a spouse, an adult child or other family member. Abuse can be inflicted by a caregiver, a service provider, or other person in a situation of power or trust. Abuse can happen when a senior is living in an institution or a private residence.
Abuse can happen when the aggressor wants to intimidate, isolate, dominate or control another human being. Abuse can happen to anyone, in any family or relationship. It can happen to people of all backgrounds, ages, religions, races, cultures and ethnic origins.
An older adult may experience one or more kinds of abuse, including:
- physical or sexual
- psychological and emotional
All these kinds of abuse can happen as a single incident or can be a pattern of behaviour. An older adult may be perceived by some as vulnerable and a target. In families, caregivers may take out their frustration on seniors who may not want to admit that abuse is happening.
If you know a senior who is being abused, or a caregiver who is stretched beyond the limit, they may need support. Let them know they are not alone. Encourage anyone who is suffering from abuse or who is acting in a violent way, to get help.
Abuse happens when one person hurts or mistreats another. Remember:
- Seniors are entitled to respect.
- Seniors have every right to live in safety and security.
- There is no excuse for abuse.
Source: Government of Canada (http://www.seniors.gc.ca/)