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Elder abuse is prevalent and should be reported

Seniors in Ontario are often victims of abuse and neglect, but fear of retribution or pride may keep them from reporting it. Elder abuse can take on various forms, including financial, physical and psychological abuse. Sadly the perpetrators are often family members or otherwise close to the victim, and sometimes, they are even reliant on the senior financially and/or for shelter.

Government data shows financial abuse to be most prevalent, and it can include stealing or misusing money, property or assets and cashing cheques belonging to the senior without his or her consent. Signatures are sometimes forged, and elderly people could be coerced into signing legal documents or make changes to their wills. Abusers often share the senior's home without contributing financially to the household.

When physical abuse is present, it typically involves shaking, shoving, striking and even burning. However, it can also include the physical or chemical restraining by over-medication or force-feeding the senior. Emotional and psychological abuse serve to break down the senior's self-worth by intimidation and humiliation. Such abuse can include threats, insults, bullying and harassment along with deprivation of rights and isolation

Nobody should have to endure elder abuse during his or her final years, and Ontario residents who suspect such suffering may have questions about how to put an end to it. One way of making sure that the appropriate action is taken to protect abused seniors is to discuss allegations or suspicions with an experienced lawyer who deals with elder abuse cases. A lawyer can make sure the appropriate procedures are followed to report the matter to the right authorities, and if it leads to a lawsuit, he or she can help with the navigation of legal proceedings.

Source: FindLaw Canada, "What is elder abuse?", Accessed on Aug. 7, 2017

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