Minister of Seniors, Kamal Khera, marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and issues the following statement:
“June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Canada is joining countries around the world to collectively speak out against elder abuse as we recognize it is a reality for many seniors in Canada. Today, let’s take this opportunity to raise awareness, to improve the safety and well-being of seniors and to check in on our parents, grandparents, neighbours and friends.
Elder abuse takes many forms. It includes the mistreatment, neglect and exploitation of older adults, whether a single or repeated act. More specifically, it is any deliberate behaviour, attitude or speech by a person in a relationship of trust—such as a family member, friend or caregiver—that causes or is likely to cause harm or distress to an older person. It also includes ageism and the violation of seniors’ rights. Elder abuse causes psychological, physical, sexual or financial harm to seniors.
Here are some common signs of elder abuse to recognize and act on:
- sudden changes in appearance;
- sudden changes in behaviour (fear, anxiety or depression) in the presence of someone an older adult has trusted;
- unexplained physical injuries;
- unexplained changes in financial status or sudden changes in legal documents;
- conflicts between the senior and the caregiver; and
- lack of basic care, such as misuse of medications, poor nutrition or poor hygiene.
Our government is proud to invest funding in over 600 projects across Canada that focus on elder abuse awareness and prevention, through the most recent New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) community-based projects call for proposals. This includes projects that put together sessions on elder abuse, elder abuse prevention and weekly seniors’ activities in a safe environment.
The South Winnipeg Seniors Resource Council in Manitoba is a great example of this. Through their recent NHSP project titled Golden Rule Seniors, educational sessions on various topics, including elder abuse, are available to seniors in the community. Also through the NHSP, the Calgary Rural Primary Care Network provides seniors with resources on elder abuse to promote awareness on the issue through their Elder Abuse Awareness Program.
Abuse should never be tolerated. If you believe that you are being abused or are concerned that an older person you know is being abused, communicate the situation to a trusted person or professional who can support you in stopping the unacceptable situation. If you are in danger, it is necessary to alert the police. To learn more about elder abuse and how to stop it, visit How you can identify abuse and help older adults at risk. Even one older Canadian who is abused is one too many.
The Government of Canada is also committed to strengthening its approach to combatting elder abuse in all its forms by finalizing the federal policy definition, investing in better data collection and establishing new offences and penalties in the Criminal Code related to elder abuse. Additionally, earlier this year, our Government funded and welcomed the release of two independent Long Term Care (LTC) standards from CSA Group and the Health Standards Organization (HSO). These standards provide guidance for delivering services that ensure the safety, and wellbeing of residents living in long term care homes. In the coming months, we will also move forward with consultations and engagement with stakeholders and Canadians on the Safe Long Term Care Act that will continue to raise the bar for safe and respectful care in LTC homes and ensure the tragedies highlighted and exacerbated during the pandemic never happen again.
Together, we will continue to working to build a safer Canada for everyone.”