situations, as they can help a person
work through the abuse, create a safety
plan and access a variety of community
resources.” Your family doctor can
connect you with a social worker on an
elder abuse resource or response team.
The police can also help you follow up
and explore the signs further.
Abuse can also occur in families where
adult children are caring for parents on
top of working full time and looking
after their own families.
“Caregiver burden can unintentionally
lead to neglect or abuse,” Bueckert
says. “They love their older adult, but
struggle with all of the demands placed
on them. Providing caregiver support
can be a very important strategy in
these situations.” Organizations such as
Caregivers Alberta provide resources
and support for people looking after
Preventing elder abuse
Education is a big part of preventing
elder abuse. It’s also important for
older adults to have safe places to talk
about abuse. If people know about elder
abuse, they can take steps to protect
themselves and their loved ones. And
if older adults feel supported, they can
also speak out or seek help.
“Another very important way to
protect ourselves is through advance care
planning,” Bueckert says. “This allows
us to choose the people we trust to step
in when needed.” Advance care planning
is a way to discuss and document our
wishes for healthcare in case we become
unable to make those choices.
Helen and Jill were shocked and
disappointed that their mother’s
former caregiver broke their trust, but
they’re not automatically wary of other
caregivers, especially now that they are
aware of elder abuse and how it can
“The way we look at it, both Jill and I
feel we did nothing wrong hiring Mom’s
former caregiver,” Helen says. “She
was very good with Mom and all of us.
We can only move forward in the same
The sisters have hired a new
caregiver––after taking precautions to
protect their mother. They removed all
debit cards, credit cards and cheques
from the home. Helen also now
reviews all her mother’s financial
statements and transactions.
Awareness can make all the difference
in ending elder abuse, but being aware
ELDER ABUSE HELP
If you or a loved one needs help with
elder abuse, visit albertaelderabuse.
ca or call:
• Calgary: Elder Abuse Resource
• Edmonton: Seniors Abuse Help
• Lethbridge: Lethbridge Elder
Abuse Response Network;
• Medicine Hat: Community
Response to Abuse and Neglect
of Elders; 403-529-4798
• Red Deer: Helping Elder Abuse
Reduction; 1-877-454-2580 or
• St. Alberta and area: Stop Abuse
in Families; 780-460-2195.
does not mean being suspicious and
distrustful. Ultimately, preventing abuse
comes down to ensuring safety for all.
“The abuse of older adults is everyone’s
concern,” Bueckert says. |a