Committee Against Abuse of Older Person (CAAOP)

Who We Are

What is Elder Abuse

Signs of Elder Abuse

Forms of Elder Abuse

Risk Factors

What Do Victims of Abuse Need

Preventing Abuse

Resources and Information

Who We Are

The Committee Against Abuse of Older Persons (CAAOP), a committee of the Hamilton Council on Aging, is a network of over 20 community organizations, which has been providing education on elder abuse issues since 1985.  We are interested in advocacy, education and linking individuals to services that assist older adults at risk of being abused.  Our mandate is to strengthen the community’s ability to prevent, recognize and respond to the abuse of older persons.

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What is Elder Abuse?

 The abuse of older persons is any action or inaction that causes harm to an older person. The abuser may be a family member, friend, neighbour, or care provider.

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Signs of Elder Abuse

  • Suspicious or unexplained injuries
  • Poor hygeine, bedsores
  • Anxiety, depression, fear, isolation, confinement
  • Malnutrition or dehydration
  • Weight Loss or Misuse of Medication
  • Lack of food or other necessities

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Forms of Elder Abuse

Financial Abuse

  • Misuse of Power of Attorney
  • Stealing, theft, forgery
  • Misusing money, cheques or property
  • Unexplained disappearance of personal belongings such as clothing or jewellery

Physical Abuse

  • Pushing, kicking, shoving, shaking
  • Hitting, slapping, poking
  • Pulling hair, biting, pinching
  • Sexual Assault

Emotional Abuse

  • Words that are hurtful make the senior feel unworthy
  • Treating an older adult like a child
  • Shunning, ignoring, or lack or acknowledgement
  • Threats of institutionalization – “Do what I say or Ill put you in a home.”
  • Not allowing the senior to socialize

Neglect

  • Withholding care or denying access to necessary services
  • Improper use of medication – over/under medicating
  • Not providing food or liquids, proper clothing or hygiene
  • Failure to assist with activities of daily living
  • Abandonment
  • Denial of an older adult’s basic rights

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Risk Factors

  • Family history of abuse
  • Physical frailty
  • Financial problems
  • Cognitive status
  • Isolation
  • Caregiver stress
  • Dependency
  • Alcohol or Drug dependency
  • Mental health

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What do Victims of Abuse Need?

  • The abuser to stop the violence, exploitation, or neglect
  • Help with restoring the family situation if possible
  • Safety, shelter, access to financial resources
  • Home Support Services, so that they are not dependent on the abuser
  • Counselling, emotional support, links to the community

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Preventing Abuse

If you are an older adult  . . .

  • Stay active within your community
  • Keep in regular contact with friends and family
  • Know your rights
  • Plan ahead and make our wishes known
  • Ensure your legal and financial matters are in order
  • Be careful of door-to-door solicitations
  • Ask for advice if you think something is wrong

If you know an older adult  . . .

  • Encourage them to ask for support and assistance if required
  • Give them the opportunity to talk about abuse – reassure them that it is not their fault
  • Educate yourself about the different types of abuse
  • Always treat seniors with respect and believe them

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Resources and Information

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