Study Document

Elder Abuse Issues in Canada Thesis

Pages:4 (1181 words)



Topic:Elder Abuse

Document Type:Thesis


Aside from direct physical, emotional, sexual abuse, or neglect, one of the most serious forms of elder abuse is the purposeful exploitation of access to confidential and financial information (LeBreton, 2008; SeniorsCanada, 2008). In many cases, these begin as crimes of opportunity rather than deliberate premeditation or planning, simply because those caring for the elderly have physical access to their private papers and information (LeBreton, 2008).

Often, family members or professional caregivers provide assistance with ordinary bookkeeping and bill-paying because the elderly may lose their ability to manage their personal and financial affairs and require assistance to pay rent and handle other ordinary paperwork-related functions. Similarly, caregivers often have access to bank accounts and check books because they are authorized by the elderly to use their money to ay for their needs such as food and medication.

Over time, those caring for the elderly in these situations may begin misusing that access to those finances for their own personal gain, especially when the elderly involved begin to lose the ability to keep track of what is going on in that regard. In the most extreme cases, individuals caring for elderly have actually stolen their identities by using their identifying information to open credit accounts or borrow money using the property or the homes of the elderly as collateral for loans and lines of credit (LeBreton, 2008; SeniorsCanada, 2008).

Protection of the Elderly and Prevention of Abuse

Both the United States and Canada have recently introduced criminal legislation to punish those who abuse the elderly in any way by imposing penal incarceration for the crime, just the same as where physical and sexual abuse and financial exploitation occur against other types of victims (SeniorsCanada, 2008). Likewise, many jurisdictions have implemented strict background check requirements for any individuals applying for licensing in connection with eldercare services, such as employment in nursing homes and both state-sponsored and private home healthcare agencies (SeniorsCanada, 2008).

However, one of the most important ways to protect the elderly from abuse is simply to increase awareness of the issue. That is because abuse (in general) often leaves tell-tale signs on the victims, whether those signs are physical (such as bruises and contusions) or behavioral (such as changes in attitude or apparent fear of their caretakers). In many cases, signs of abuse are not reported because they are not noticed or because they are explained away by the victims and/or their abusers (LeBreton, 2008).


Elder abuse is a serious social problem that affects a very vulnerable segment of the population. In many respects, it is shameful not just for those directly responsible for the abuse; it is also shameful on the part of those who could do something to protect the victims but do not care enough to make that a priority or to notice the problem. Canadian society is becoming more and more aware of the problem and government legislators have already reacted appropriately by enacting criminal penalties for elder abuse and by implementing background checking requirements to identify high-risk individuals seeking professional access to a vulnerable dependent population of potential victims. Ultimately it is a moral duty to protect all of those who cannot protect themselves from abuse, regardless of whether they are four years old or ninety-four years old.


Elder Abuse: it's Time to Face the Reality. (2008). Accessed 30 Nov. 2009 from SeniorsCanada at the Canada Government public website at:[email protected]?cid=145

LeBreton, M. (2008). "Notes for Address to Leader of the Government in the Senate

and Secretary of State" (Seniors) World Elder…

Sample Source(s) Used


Elder Abuse: it's Time to Face the Reality. (2008). Accessed 30 Nov. 2009 from SeniorsCanada at the Canada Government public website at:[email protected]?cid=145

LeBreton, M. (2008). "Notes for Address to Leader of the Government in the Senate

and Secretary of State" (Seniors) World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Conference

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