What does elder abuse look like?
Elder abuse can take many forms including:
- Physical Abuse
Violence or rough treatment causing an injury. This may include slapping, pushing or hitting, or the use of physical restraints.
- Psychological / Emotional Abuse
These are acts that lower a person’s dignity and self-worth. This may show itself as criticizing, threatening, humiliating or isolating the victim. It could also be spiritual abuse, such as preventing the senior from attending church or mocking their beliefs.
- Chemical/ Medication Abuse
Any misuse of medications and prescriptions, including withholding medication and over-medicating.
- Sexual Abuse
Any unwanted sexual act, including unwanted touching, kissing or fondling.
- Financial Abuse
Misusing the senior’s money or property without full knowledge and consent. This could be the theft of money, pension cheques or property, or the misuse of a power of attorney.
If a caregiver does not properly care for a senior who cannot look after themself, this would be considered neglect. This could include withholding food, personal hygiene care, health services, clothing, help, or companionship.
Perpetrators of Elder Abuse
Anyone, whether they have a relationship with the senior or not, can be a perpetrator of elder abuse. These people could include:
- a spouse/family member
- a friend
- any caregiver
- anyone working for an elderly person
- staff in a nursing home/special care home
- a stranger
- a landlord
Some Reasons for Abuse and Neglect
Abuse or neglect by a family member:
- stress in the family
- poor relationships
- generational violence
- vindictiveness – trying to get even with a parent for past events
- drug or alcohol problems
- financial problems
- the caregiver may be overwhelmed
- the caregiver may be incapable of looking after someone else.
Abuse or neglect in a nursing home or special care home:
- lack of training
- being over-worked
- a stressful working environment
- lack of communication
How do I ask for help?
Call your Regional Social Development office. You can make an adult protection referral 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Acadian Peninsula (Tracadie-Sheila)
Information summarized from the PLEIS-NB page Preventing Abuse and Neglect of Seniors.