There are more than 665,000 seniors living in Alberta, according to the Alberta Government. This population is the fastest growing age group in the province and is expected to double within the next two decades.
In Canada, seniors represent roughly one-fifth of the total population.
In 2019 Stats Canada says there were 14,156 reported cases of senior abuse in Canada, and over half of these instances occurred to senior men.
Most provinces and territories saw an increase in reported elder abuse in 2019, though Alberta saw a decrease of roughly seven per cent.
Elder abuse is “any action or inaction by self or others that jeopardizes the health or well-being of any older adult. It can take several forms including financial, emotional, spiritual/cultural, physical, sexual, medical, and neglect.”
Abuse to people of all ages is often committed by someone known to the victim, such as a family member, friend, or caregiver.
Stats Canada says one-third of victimized seniors, roughly 4,518 seniors in 2019, were abused by a family member.
“Family violence against seniors that came to the attention of police was most often perpetrated by their child (34 per cent) followed by a spouse (26 per cent) and a sibling (12 per cent), and this pattern was the same for female and male seniors,” the Stat Can-Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, 2019 states.
The 2019 report continues to state women as most likely to be victims of family based violence. Fifty-eight per cent of family-based abuse against seniors was toward a female senior.
According to the report, 72 per cent of elder abuse in Canada was through physical assault.
“Two-thirds (67 per cent) of senior victims of family violence were assaulted using physical force. A further1 6 per cent of victims were assaulted with a weapon present, such as a knife, club or firearm. Four in ten (41 per cent) senior victims of family violence suffered a physical injury,” according to the report, which continued to state the vast majority of injuries are considered minor.
Of the 14,156 senior victimized in Canada in 2019, a small percentage, roughly 11 per cent, lived in a nursing or retirement home.
The Alberta Government says financial and emotional abuse common forms of elder abuse in the province. This is because the abuser is often someone who is in a position of power, trust or authority such as a family member, friend, or caregiver.
An older adult may not speak out against their abuser because they have a close relationship to them, which leads to many cases not being reported.
Experts in the field say it is important for a person who has been bullied or abused to know it isn’t because of who they are or anything they did.
For more information about elder abuse, support or help, visit www.familyviolence.alberta.ca or call the 24-hour Family Violence Info Line toll-free at 310-1818.
If someone is in immediate danger, call 911.