SAFE Safety Awareness for Elders

Elder Abuse

It can be difficult for most of us to imagine that anyone could abuse some of our most vulnerable citizens, but elder abuse is a growing problem in Canada.

While there are different types of mistreatment that seniors can experience, the Government of Canada defines elder abuse as:

"Any action by someone in a relationship of trust
that results in harm or distress to an older person."

Types of Elder Abuse

While the term “elder abuse” itself is not a criminal offence, there are a number of offences when they are committed against an elder can be deemed as criminal. There are also certain forms of abuse which are not deemed criminal.

Types of Elder Abuse

SAFE Safety Awarness for EldersCommon Warning Signs of Elder Abuse

While one sign does not necessarily indicate abuse, some indicators that there could be a problem are:

  • the onset of unexplained physical injuries, like bruising, sprains or broken bones

  • a change in financial status

  • abandoning / leaving a dependent elder alone for long periods of time

  • a sudden change in the elders appearance

  • bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss are indicators of possible neglect

  • belittling, threats, and other uses of power and control by spouses or those who should be in a position of trust are indicators of verbal or emotional abuse

  • frequent arguments between the caregiver and elderly person

SAFE Safety Awareness for EldersQuick Tips to Prevent Elder Abuse

  • become knowledgeable about the signs of elder abuse and neglect

  • call or visit an elderly loved one and ask how they are

  • help an elder obtain appropriate community resources

  • provide the caregiver with a break

  • contact your local public trustee to learn how you can support their work assisting at-risk elders

  • ask your community leaders to speak about elder abuse

  • volunteer at a nursing home or visit a homebound senior in your neighborhood

S.A.F.E. Safety Awareness for EldersPersonal Safety Tips

  • always be aware of your surroundings

  • know where you are at all times

  • walk with a friend or family member

  • carry limited valuables and money on your person
  • carry yourself with confidence

  • protect your personal space

  • be loud if you need help, don't be afraid to shout or yell

  • protect your personal belongings

  • ask for photo ID from any service/delivery person you aren’t familiar with

  • don’t hesitate to call police if you need assistance

S.A.F.E. Safety Awareness for EldersFinancial Safety Tips

  • protect your personal information

  • don't send money to anyone you aren’t certain of their identity

  • say no when someone pressures you for money – even family members

  • advise your bank of any authorized users of your account

  • choose a trusted family member or friend as a power of attorney

  • be aware of scams and con artists, familiarize yourself with their schemes

  • if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

  • never provide your credit card, social insurance, or banking information over the phone

  • don't let anyone rush you into signing anything - read carefully and have someone you trust check it over

  • beware of people claiming to represent companies, consumer organizations, or government agencies that offer to recover lost money from fraudulent telemarketers for a fee

  • if you are suspicious about anyone, contact the police, Better Business Bureau, or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

S.A.F.E. Safety Awareness for EldersEmotional Safety Tips

  • keep socially connected

  • don't be embarrassed or ashamed to seek assistance

  • establish healthy boundaries within your relationships







SAFE Safety Awareness for Elders

Wear Purple

World Elder Abuse Day

Security Tips for Seniors

Are you concerned about crime? Learn some safety tips to help prevent becoming a victim.

Where to Get Help

Police Emergency 9-1-1

Police Non-Emergency

BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support
(Seniors Abuse and Information Line - SAIL)
(604) 437-1940
1 (866) 437-1940

Vancouver Coastal Health
(604) 263-7377

Public Guardian and Trustee
(604) 660-4507

Victim Link BC

Mosaic Victim Services Program 


Vancouver Community Policing Centres

Office of the Seniors Advocate

Government of Canada
1 (800) 622- 6232

Government of Canada
Department of Justice
Elder Abuse is Wrong

Healthlink BC

It's Not Right