What is Abuse?

What is Abuse?

As stated by World Health Organization (WHO)

Elder abuse is 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.

As stated by Alberta Health

Elder abuse is any action or inaction by self or others that jeopardizes the health or well-being of any older adult. Elder abuse can take several forms including financial, emotional, physical, sexual, neglect and medication. Often more than one type of abuse occurs at the same time. The two most frequently identified and reported types of elder abuse in Canada are financial and emotional.

Warning Signs

· Confusion

· Depression/anxiety

· Unexplained injuries or fear of certain individuals

· Changes in hygiene

· Fear/worry when discussing money

Types of abuse as identified by the Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Network

Types of Abuse*

What it is

What it Includes

Financial The misuse of an person’s funds or property. Frauds, scams, stealing money or possessions, joint banking
accounts or a power of attorney, forging a signature.
Psychological or Emotional This may take the form of verbal aggression,

humiliation, isolation, intimidation, threats and

inappropriate control of activities. In all cases, it diminishes the identity and self-worth of
persons. It can also provoke intense fear,
anxiety or debilitating stress.

Removal of decision-making power, withholding affection for

manipulative purposes, refusing access to grandchildren,
controlling activities, attacking their self-esteem, intentionally frightening them.

Physical The use of physical force causing discomfort which may or may not result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment. Slapping, shaking, pushing, kicking, punching, striking with an object or weapon, forced confinement, failure to provide
adequate health care.
Sexual All unwanted forms of sexual activity,
behaviour, assault or harassment.
Verbal or suggestive behavior, fondling, sexual intercourse, lack of personal privacy, being forced to commit degrading acts,

unnecessary help with dressing/hygiene.

Neglect This is the intentional or unintentional failure to provide for the needs of someone. Neglect can be active (intentional) or passive (unintentional) and has the effect of failing to provide persons with basic necessities or care. Failure to provide a safe place to live, denial of social contacts, failure to provide proper food, personal hygiene, or clean
clothing, failure to provide aids for daily living, (hearing aids, walkers, etc.), failure to prevent physical harm or
Medication This is the misuse of a person’s medications and prescriptions. Withholding medication, overmedicating, sedation, not
complying with prescription refills.
Violation of  Human Rights This is the denial of a person’s fundamental rights according to legislation, by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights. Withholding information, denying privacy, visitors, or religious

worship, restricting liberty, unwarranted confining to a hospital or institution.