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Nova Scotia Seniors – Elder Abuse

Posted Jun 27, 2016

We often think of abuse applying to animals, children, and spouses, but what is often overlooked is the abuse or our senior population.

Elder abuse can come in many forms- neglect, mental, physical or emotional abuse; and regardless of the type of abuse it can have a significant impact on the victims.

Our seniors are very vulnerable. Often housebound and in need of home care, these people will allow a family member to come in and “care’ for them without the knowledge that often, the family member is seizing on an opportunity to take financial control.

Recognizing and responding to elder abuse can be a challenging situation, especially for caregivers who may not be family members. There is a reluctance to act without proof and a care worker’s suspicions and gut feelings do not always count as evidence enough to bring in the authorities.

Unfortunately in many cases, as with seniors with dementia, they may not be aware of their situations and/or conditions and may not be aware of their own vulnerability.

If you suspect that a senior is experiencing abuse, it is important to alert the authorities to situations within a family.

If you or someone you know is being abused or neglected, help is available. Here are some resources in Nova Scotia:

  1. 911
    Call immediately if the situation is an emergency. You call will be answered 24 hours a day.
  2. Your local police
    Call your local police if the situation is not an emergency but you suspect it might be against the law. Ask to speak to someone who has been trained in senior abuse, or domestic/family violence.
  3. Senior Abuse Information and Referral Line
    Call for information about senior abuse or to talk about a situation of abuse. Your call will be kept confidential. Leave a message if a person does not answer the phone. This is not a crisis line. The Department of Seniors cannot investigate, but it can tell you about resources in your community.
    1-877-833-3377 toll-free in Nova Scotia
    902-424-3163 out of province
  4. Seniors’ Safety Programs
    Many communities have a Seniors’ Safety Program. The programs operate in partnership with local police agencies, including RCMP, municipal police, or town police. Seniors’ Safety Programs promote education and awareness about senior abuse, crime prevention, and safety and health issues. To find out about a program in your area, call the Senior Abuse Information and Referral Line (listed above) or check the Positive Aging Directory, published by the Nova Scotia Department of Seniors.
  5. Legal Information Line and Lawyer Referral Service
    Call to learn about the law, the justice system, or how to find a lawyer in Nova Scotia.
    1-800-665-9779 toll-free in Nova Scotia
    902-455-3135 in Halifax region
  6. Adult Protection and Protection for Persons in Care
    Call if you know of a senior who is being abused or neglected and needs protection. Leave a message. All messages are returned.
    1-800-225-7225 toll-free in Nova Scotia
    902-487-0640 out of province
  7. Helpline
    Feed Nova Scotia’s 24-hour Helpline offers confidential support for a wide range of needs, including family issues, grief, self-harm, addictions, sexuality, domestic disputes, and food and housing concerns. A trained volunteer will listen and help you to find the resources and support you need.
    1-877-521-1188 toll-free in Nova Scotia
    902-421-1188 in Halifax region