Elder Abuse Awareness

It's ok to be young. It's ok to be older.

Ageism or age discrimination affects us all - young and old, men and women. Negative attitudes and stereotypes about aging is harmful as it sends a negative message about self worth, respect, and ability.

Learn more about elder abuse

What is elder abuse?

Abuse of older adults refers to actions that harm an older person or jeopardize the person's health or welfare. Abuse can be:

  • physical (e.g. hitting, confinement, withholding or under medicating),
  • emotional, verbal (e.g. name calling),
  • financial (e.g. taking money or property, forgery, fraud, misuse of a power of attorney),
  • sexual (sexual assault, unwanted sexual contact),
  • neglect and denial of civil and human rights.

On PEI the most common types of elder abuse are self-neglect, caregiver neglect, financial abuse, and emotional/verbal abuse.

There is no single cause of elder abuse. It may occur in relation to a single event or combination of life events such as physical or mental health illness, retirement, employment or family difficulties, addiction, or a dispute. It can affect older adults of any background, culture, religion, and economic status.

Research suggests that there are some factors that may increase the risk of elder abuse including:

  • lack of understanding that certain behaviours are wrong and are abusive;
  • negative attitudes about aging leading to disrespectful actions;
  • beliefs about the role and expectations of women and men;
  • lack of understanding of the needs and abilities of older adults;
  • longstanding abuse and violence in a family or relationship;
  • lack of awareness of the responsibilities of caregiving and limited access to support services.

Abuse is a form of family violence

Many forms of abuse and neglect of older adults are types of family violence. 

Contact information

Hailey Arsenault
Seniors' Policy Advisor
Office of Seniors
P.O. Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE  C1A 7N8

Telephone: (902) 620-3785
Email: seniors@gov.pe.ca 

Published date: 
March 17, 2023