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the national seniors council

le conseil national des aînés
Report of the National Seniors Council
on Elder Abuse
November 2007
Submitted to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development,
the Minister of Health, and the Secretary of State (Seniors)
Paper
ISBN: HS4-38/2007
Cat. No.: 978-0-662-05329-3
PDF
ISBN: HS4-38/2007E-PDF
Cat. No.: 978-0-662-47366-4
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse
Message from the
National Seniors Council
On behalf of the National Seniors Council, I am pleased to submit our report on elder
abuse the Iirst oI our two initial priorities.
The regional meetings with experts and stakeholders convened by the Council this fall
were very informative and helpful to us. We were impressed by the commitment and
energy that participants demonstrated in their work on elder abuse and their respect for
seniors. They provided valuable insights on this serious matter, and their knowledge,
expertise and ideas are reflected in our report.
Participants made recommendations on a wide range of issues related to elder abuse
which were carefully considered by the Council. While we are encouraged by the
momentum for action on elder abuse that is building within the federal government, this
report contains our advice on how it could become more involved speciIically on the
issues of awareness and prevention.
The National Seniors Council hopes that its advice will provide the impetus for new
federal initiatives to help address this serious social problem and improve seniors` quality
of life.
Respectfully submitted,
Jean-Guy Soulière
Chair, National Seniors Council
i
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse ii
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse
Table of Contents
Mandate of the National Seniors Council ....................................................................... 1
Foreword............................................................................................................................ 3
Introduction....................................................................................................................... 5
What Participants Told Us............................................................................................... 7
Awareness ....................................................................................................................... 7
Knowledge transfer and information dissemination....................................................... 8
Training .......................................................................................................................... 9
Research........................................................................................................................ 10
Resources for community responses to elder abuse ..................................................... 11
Legal considerations..................................................................................................... 11
Conclusions...................................................................................................................... 13
Members of the National Seniors Council .................................................................... 17
List of Participants at Meetings on Elder Abuse ......................................................... 21
iii
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse
1
Mandate of the National Seniors Council
The National Seniors Council shall advise the Government of Canada, through the
Minister of Human Resources and Social Development and the Minister of Health on all
matters related to the well-being and quality of life of seniors, including the opportunities
and challenges arising from a rapidly growing and increasingly diverse aging population.
As directed by the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development and the
Minister of Health, the National Seniors Council shall:
a) advise on current and emerging issues and opportunities related to the quality of life
and well-being of seniors, both now and in the future;
b) as needed, undertake activities such as commissioning research, convening expert
panels and roundtables, and holding consultative meetings;
c) deliver well-balanced advice, taking into account the views of experts, seniors,
organizations and groups that provide seniors` programs and services, provincial/territorial
advisory bodies on seniors, and other relevant stakeholders and interested parties; and
d) ensure a comprehensive and collaborative approach in its examination of the
policies, programs and services that impact the lives of seniors by consulting with
other federal departments, other levels of government and advisory bodies involved in
seniors-related efforts.
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 2
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse
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Foreword
Jean-Guy Soulière
Chair, National Seniors Council
The National Seniors Council was established in March 2007. At the inaugural meeting
of the Council in May 2007 in Ottawa, the Secretary of State (Seniors) identified two
initial priorities: to develop ways to raise awareness of elder abuse and combat this issue;
and to better understand the factors that lead to pockets of low-income seniors among
unattached seniors, particularly women. In its mandated role of providing advice to the
Government of Canada, the National Seniors Council is pleased to provide a report on the
first priority and an update on its work toward the second priority.
Elder abuse
This fall, the National Seniors Council held regional meetings with a total of 50 experts
and stakeholders, to discuss the nature and extent of elder abuse in Canada. The feedback
from participants was very positive; they welcomed the meetings and expressed strong
support for continued dialogue on elder abuse.
The level of participation and interest demonstrated were a testimony to the commitment
of individuals and their organizations to combat elder abuse and improve the quality of
life of seniors living in all regions of Canada. It was equally evident that participants`
work incorporates the respect for seniors that is so richly deserved. More importantly, it
sent a strong message to the National Seniors Council that elder abuse is a serious social
problem and that further action by governments is required.
With this report, the National Seniors Council offers practical advice to the federal
government to address elder abuse. This advice will take advantage of existing networks,
capacity, expertise and commitment across the country.
The National Seniors Council wishes to thank all participants, many of whom volunteer their
time and expertise to the issue of elder abuse, for agreeing to share their views with us.
Low-income seniors
The National Seniors Council began examining the issue of low-income seniors through a
review of income, wealth and expenditure patterns, as well as through a review of public
pensions, programs and policies. This diagnostic work revealed the following conclusions:
Since 1980, the proportion of seniors living in low income has declined sharply (from
21.3 percent in 1980 to 6.1 percent in 2004), due in part to Canada`s public pensions,
which include a Guaranteed Income Supplement for low-income seniors.
Given that more and more women have entered the labour force, improvements are
likely to continue into the future for this category of seniors.
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 4
A relatively small group of seniors living in low income remains. Whether men or
women, unattached seniors who have a poor work history (and therefore little
workplace pension wealth or personal savings) are at a much higher risk of
experiencing low income in old age.
Provinces and territories provide assistance to low-income seniors through income
supplements and programs and services that help reduce their expenditures.
The National Seniors Council will consider the kind of work that might be needed in the
future in this area, bearing in mind jurisdictional considerations.
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Introduction
'We neea the National Seniors Council to look at wavs to reach out to our
seniors communities on the existence of elaer abusein all its uglv forms.
We neea the National Seniors Council to present wavs in which we can
break the wall of silence ana show seniors that elaer abuse exists. that it is
not toleratea. ana there is help available in our communities to cope.`
The Honourable Marjory LeBreton, Secretary of State (Seniors),
at the inaugural meeting of the National Seniors Council, May 2007.
Momentum for action on elder abuse is building within the federal government. The National
Seniors Council is pleased that the October 16, 2007, Speech from the Throne touched on
this important issue. The National Seniors Council hopes that this report will provide
further impetus to the important work on elder abuse already underway across Canada.
This report is divided into two parts. 'What Participants Told Us¨ summarizes the
information gathered by the National Seniors Council during the regional meetings.
'Conclusions¨ contains the considerations that emerged from the meetings and advice to
Ministers on possible areas for action.
Why elder abuse is a priority
For too long, elder abuse has remained a largely hidden issue, with untold social and
economic costsabove all, to seniors who are victims of abuse.
Elder abuse may take many forms: financial, physical, emotional or psychological,
sexual, systemic (e.g. ageism), spiritual and neglect (either self-neglect by seniors or
neglect by others).
Elder abuse is an issue that may affect seniors in all walks of life. However, some seniors
may be at greater risk of experiencing some type of abuse: those who are older; female;
isolated; dependent on others; cared for by someone with an addiction; seniors living in
institutional settings; and those who are frail, who have a cognitive impairment or a
physical disability.
It is difficult to estimate the prevalence and incidence of elder abuse in Canada due to
factors such as under-reporting, confusion about what constitutes abuse, limitations in
victimization surveys and police statistics, or a general lack of awareness about the issue.
Nonetheless, based on available Canadian data, it is estimated that between 4 percent and
10 percent of older adults in Canada experience some type of abuse.

In the current
demographic context of a rapidly increasing seniors population, it is clearly an issue that
requires attention.

Elder Abuse in Canada: Preliminary Overview oI the Issue, August 2007, prepared for the National Seniors Council
(unpublished)
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It is time for Canadians to focus greater attention on the issue of elder abuse, and to strive to
increase awareness of the extent and nature of the issue; to achieve a better understanding of
its causes and consequences for individuals, families and communities; to ensure that
people are able to get help and know where to turn for assistance; and to identify good
practices for recognizing, responding and preventing elder abuse.
Regional meetings on elder abuse
In order to help understand the issue, the National Seniors Council held five regional
meetings on elder abuse with experts and stakeholders, between September 17 and
October 3, 2007. The meetings were moderated by the Chair of the National Seniors
Council and co-chaired by the Council members from each of the five regions.
The five meetings took place in:
Toronto: September 17, 2007 Co-chaired by Reverend Shea
Montréal: September 19, 2007 Co-chaired by Cécile Plourde, Rémi Plourde &
Daphne Nahmiash
Calgary: September 26, 2007 Co-chaired by Sandi Hirst
Vancouver: September 28, 2007 Co-chaired by Marilyn Loveless
Moncton: October 3, 2007 Co-chaired by Bev Weeks & Joan Tufts
These regional meetings were guided by the definition of elder abuse that is commonly-
used internationally: 'A single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring
within a relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress
to an older person.¨

The objectives of the meetings were to:
Enable the National Seniors Council to learn more about the issue of elder abuse;
Share good practices for raising awareness, responding to and preventing elder abuse; and
Identify areas for possible federal government action.
Fifty individuals, representing organizations serving seniors, law enforcement agencies,
legal experts, service providers and academics participated in the meetings. The discussions
at each meeting were guided by four overarching questions:
1. How does the issue of elder abuse come up in your work with seniors?
2. Which activities have you or your organization undertaken to address the issue of
elder abuse?
3. Which good practices are you aware of to enhance awareness of elder abuse?
4. Which good practices are you aware of for responding to and/or preventing elder abuse?
2
DeIinition developed by Action on Elder Abuse in the United Kingdom and cited in World Report on Violence and
Health, World Health Organization, (2002). Geneva, Switzerland.
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What Participants Told Us
Although each regional meeting was distinct and each made a unique contribution to the
National Seniors Council`s understanding oI elder abuse, six themes emerged across
the Iive sessions:
1. Awareness
2. Knowledge transIer and inIormation dissemination
3. Education and training
4. Research
5. Resources Ior community responses to elder abuse
6. Legal considerations
All six themes play a role in addressing the multiple dimensions oI elder abuse. The
Iollowing is a description oI each theme, including examples oI good practices and
suggestions made by participants Ior possible Iederal action.
Awareness
Increasing awareness oI elder abuse was identiIied as the Iirst important step in
addressing the issue. Although eIIorts to raise awareness are underway by various means,
participants were clear about the need to strengthen these eIIorts Ior the beneIit oI the
general public as well as Ior proIessionals, service providers and seniors themselves.
The National Seniors Council heard about several awareness-raising activities using a
variety oI mediums: Iact sheets and pamphlets, workshops and seminars, television and
radio reports, internet communication tools and school-based educational programs.
For example, in Ontario, one participant explained how she visits seniors Iacilities and
schools and uses drama and role-play to intensiIy the impact oI her presentations on elder
abuse. She has also widened access to this inIormational tool by making the vignettes
available on CDs.
In Saskatchewan, a Iormer law enIorcement oIIicer and sought-aIter expert has written
and published a book entitled Stop Fraud. In Alberta, the Alberta Action Committee
against Violence has produced a toolkit that teaches people how to host an 'awareness
caIé¨ on elder abuse that includes key messages and questions to encourage discussion
about how to recognize elder abuse.
These are iust a Iew examples oI eIIective awareness activities currently underway.
However, participants across the country were consistent in their views that eIIorts to
increase awareness oI elder abuse must be enhanced and accelerated.
Participants suggested that the Iederal government could consider building on existing
public awareness campaigns to leverage these eIIorts in the development oI a coordinated
national awareness campaign similar to ParticipACTION. The national campaign could
include partnerships with media, business, labour, academia volunteer organizations and
seniors organizations to increase awareness oI elder abuse.
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Participants suggested building on the awareness generated by the celebration of World
Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) in Canada on June 15. WEEAD was launched
by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse in 2006. The federal
government and all provincial/territorial governments participated in WEEAD in 2006
and 2007, along with numerous events that took place at the community level. Through
funding from federal, provincial and territorial governments, posters and information kits
were developed and distributed across the country in both years.
In Toronto, it was suggested that the prominence of WEEAD could be heightened by
making it part of the United Nations formal calendar. The federal government could
initiate steps to examine the feasibility of formalizing WEEAD on the United Nations
calendar of events.
To maximize the impact of a national awareness campaign, the following factors were
identified as important to consider in the design of an approach:
Messages must be designed to reach specific target audiences such as seniors, service
providers, health care professionals, financial institutions, families and caregivers.
The cultural diversity oI Canada`s population, including its Aboriginal peoples, must
be acknowledged and respected.
Materials must be available in multiple languages.
Specific types of elder abuse should be targeted.

Recognition that raising awareness may result in an increase in reporting incidents of
elder abuse, which will in turn intensify the demand for services
Knowledge transfer and information dissemination
Knowledge transfer and information dissemination are fundamentally important to address
elder abuse effectively and efficiently across the country. Participants told the National
Seniors Council that in spite of current efforts at communication among those who work
in the field on best practices, research and intervention strategies, these efforts need to be
enhanced significantly to ensure that current information exchange is readily available.
Opportunities must be created to allow individuals and organizations to:
Communicate with each other and share their experiences, knowledge and lessons learned;
Access research and tools necessary to inform their work;
Become knowledgeable about current provincial, national and international work
underway, in order to avoid duplication of effort; and
Understand how best to utilize limited human and financial resources.
3
Throughout the regional meetings, financial abuse was cited as the most frequently occurring form of abuse,
followed by psychological/emotional and physical
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Participants provided examples of good practices, where professionals from a variety of
disciplines worked together to share their knowledge and develop effective interventions
in situations of elder abuse. The National Seniors Council heard about a regional project
in the Greater Lévis region that uses an interdisciplinary model, in which professionals
meet monthly to review cases of elder abuse, share their expertise and coordinate actions
to deal with reported cases.
In a community in Prince Edward Island, a similar multi-disciplinary model exists where
an RCMP officer, community and seniors organizations, consumers federations and the
public trustee organized a seniors safety program in which experts visit seniors in their
own homes to provide information on awareness and prevention of elder abuse.
There was general agreement that a centralized mechanism was needed to facilitate the
sharing of knowledge and information. An existing venue could take on this function or a
stand-alone elder abuse clearinghouse could be established.
To facilitate the coordination of information dissemination and knowledge transfer,
participants recommended that the federal government consider working in partnership
with national organizations that have shown leadership in the distribution of information.
For example, an organization such as the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder
Abuse (CNPEA) might be a possible partner. The CNPEA consists of professionals
representing a number oI disciplines Irom across the countrysocial work, academia,
community organizations and elder abuse consultants affiliated with provincial
governmentswho volunteer their time to raise awareness, share information, educate
people on how to recognize elder abuse and stimulate research.
Participants suggested that the federal government launch and support an annual national
symposium on elder abuse that would allow for knowledge transfer, education and
information dissemination. An initial priority topic for a national symposium of this type
could be 'sharing good practices in the area oI intervention.¨
Training
Training on elder abuse is essential for professionals who provide care and service to
seniors. These care and service providers are often the first to encounter seniors who
could be at risk or who are victims of abuse.
Academics who participated in the regional meetings identified a need to invest in
training for future health care and social service professionals, around issues of aging and
elder abuse. In general, curricula for training frontline professionals are not seen as
offering education on how to respond to the needs of an aging society.
However, participants did note improvements in training in some instances. For example,
the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE) is a national network of
researchers and practitioners involved in the care of older adults through medicine, nursing,
social work and with other allied health professionals. Its goal is to establish links between
university researchers and community practitioners in medicine, nursing and social work,
to develop and improve practices for the care oI Canada`s seniors. The network helps
develop and improve educational initiatives; introduce basic geriatric knowledge into
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 10
core courses in medicine, nursing and social work; and provide specific training
programs in geriatric specializations. It also develops training programs for practitioners
already in the field, to help them expand and refine their skills in caring for older adults.
Participants recognized NICE as a training and educational vehicle, as well as one for
information dissemination, knowledge transfer and professional development.
At all of the regional meetings, participants mentioned a lack of training for personal
support workers who provide services including personal care, housekeeping, shopping
and companionship, among others. Specific training in elder abuse is important for
personal support workers because they may work with seniors who are at risk of abuse or
who are victims of abuse.
Participants also noted a lack of specialized training for those in the criminal justice
system who deal with victims of elder abuse and their families. They suggested that
enhanced training be considered.
Research
Participants recognized that research on elder abuse is important and suggested that it be
one of the activities included in the overall action plan to address elder abuse. They felt
that research alone is not the answer; but that it should be part of a comprehensive plan to
ensure that actions are based on accurate and valid information.
The National Seniors Council heard about several promising research initiatives.
A Way Forward, a national research project begun in 2006 in Toronto, is one example
described to the Council by a lead partner. With financial support from the Government
of Canada, through the National Population Health Fund of the Public Health Agency of
Canada, this project is a collaborative effort of the University oI Toronto`s Institute
for Life Course and Aging, and partners from six universities, as well as key community
and long-term care stakeholders. The objective of the project is to enhance the capacity
of communities across Canada to better understand and respond to the complex issues of
abuse and neglect in institutional facilities.
Specific suggestions made by participants about the types of research that would enhance
understanding of elder abuse in Canada included:
Updating existing research on causes, incidence and prevalence of elder abuse;
Examining the association between mental health issues, substance abuse and elder
abuse;
Examining the consequences of elder abuse, particularly on families, communities
and among different ethno-cultural populations in Canada;
Investigating the possible impact of ageism on elder abuse; and
Designing an evaluation framework for tools and interventions to detect and respond
to abuse.
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It was suggested that the federal government can contribute to research on elder abuse
either directly, by conducting research itself, or indirectly, by entering into partnerships
with organizations that conduct research.
Resources for community responses to elder abuse
To address elder abuse, it is imperative that action take place at the community level and
that resources be allocated to this. Participants delivered a unanimous message that
without adequate and sustainable funding, efforts to combat elder abuse in local
communities are compromised.
Participants also emphasized that not only is funding important for those who work in the
field, but human resources are also critical. Many communities rely heavily on volunteers
to work directly with seniors at risk, as frontline resources, coordinators and trainers.
Participants suggested that the National Seniors Council urge the federal government to
provide support to these volunteers, who are essential in delivering these services, but
who are vulnerable to burnout.
The 2007 increase in funds for national and regional elder abuse awareness projects
under the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) was viewed as a very positive
development. Participants noted, however, that the parameters of the community-based
funding provided by NHSP (one-time grants) do not sustain the continuation of promising
local projects that address elder abuse.
Legal considerations
A number of legal remedies exist in Canada to deal with elder abuse and neglect. Along
with federal criminal law defined in the Criminal Code of Canada, there are provincial
and territorial frameworks pertaining to adult protection legislation, adult guardianship,
family violence statutes, human rights statutes and long-term care facilities regulation.
The Criminal Code describes the different offences that someone can be charged with if
they are accused of abusive actions toward older adults. The relevant provisions include
those related to physical and sexual abuse, criminal harassment in situations of chronic
psychological abuse, neglect, property theft, breach of trust, extortion, fraud and
intimidation. In addition, sentencing provisions in the Code require the courts to consider
evidence of age-based bias as an aggravating factor.
During some of the regional meetings, participants debated whether or not the Criminal Code
should be amended to further facilitate dealing with elder abuse. Legal experts at the
meetings, such as those representing La Commission des droits de la personne et des droits
de la jeunesse, in Quebec, and the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE), in Ontario,
advised that changes to existing legislation are not necessary. Effective legislation and
legal tools exist that protect the rights of individuals. What is lacking is awareness of
these tools and the steps that should be taken by social workers and law enforcement
professionals who are often the first to encounter situations of elder abuse.
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There was a strong view among participants that legal aid should be more widely
available for low-income seniors and/or those who have been abused so income is not an
impediment to accessing legal services.
Legal experts at the regional meetings advised that it is important to recognize that legal
solutions alone are not as effective in combating elder abuse as social solutions that
include the legal community. Interdisciplinary models were described, such as the one
used in ACE, in which legal experts are part of a team approach that addresses all aspects
of elder abuse as it occurs within families and communities in which older adults live.
Participants encouraged the federal government to look at ways to further include the
legal community in an interdisciplinary approach to elder abuse.
Many participants reported that the misinterpretation of the scope and intent of federal
and provincial privacy legislation can be a barrier to reporting elder abuse cases.
With respect to federal privacy legislation, individuals are protected by the Personal
Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which sets out regulations
for how private sector organizations may collect, use or disclose personal information in
the course of commercial activities.
Initially, PIPEDA applied only to personal information about customers or employees
that was collected, used or disclosed in the course of commercial activities by the
federally-regulated private sector organizations such as banks, airlines and telecommunications
companies. The Act now applies to personal information collected, used or disclosed by the
retail sector, publishing companies, the service industry, manufacturers and other
provincially-regulated organizations, except in provinces that have enacted legislation
similar to PIPEDA.
As a result, industries in the federally-regulated private sector have taken steps to ensure
that they are not in violation of privacy regulations. However, examples were provided of
instances where banks were reluctant to report suspected cases of possible fraud or abuse
of power of attorney, claiming that they were unable to do so due to restrictions placed
upon them as a result of privacy legislation. As well, healthcare professionals reported
that there is reluctance to report possible physical or psychological abuse of elders for
fear of repercussions due to infractions of privacy legislation.
Legal experts informed the National Seniors Council of the need to clarify whether
reporting a suspicion of elder abuse violates current privacy legislation. The National
Seniors Council was asked to consider how the federal government might be able to work
with these sectors to ensure they understand the application of privacy legislation.
As one legal expert told the National Seniors Council, 'The law is not a solution; it is a
tool. One has to be able to use the law effectively when appropriate.¨ It was suggested that
the federal government undertake an examination of federal legislative and legal frameworks
to better understand how they may be utilized and applied to cases of elder abuse.
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Conclusions
Several overarching considerations emerged as a result of the regional meetings and need
to be taken into account if elder abuse is to be effectively addressed:
Raising awareness of elder abuse and what constitutes abuse will increase the demand
for community-based and front-line services, which will in turn put pressure on
limited human and financial resources.
Elder abuse is a complex phenomenon. It occurs in different forms, in diverse settings
and with different dynamics; it requires different types of interventions.
An interdisciplinary approach is critical for making progress on elder abuse. Because
this abuse is multi-faceted and occurs in many forms, the involvement of a broad
range of disciplines is needed, including areas such as health, law, social work,
academia, non-profit and voluntary sectors, institutional care sectors and governments.
A cultural perspective is necessary to fully understand how elder abuse is perceived
and dealt with in different cultural contexts, including among Aboriginal peoples. The
National Seniors Council was not completely satisfied that there was sufficient
representation at their regional meetings, from the three northern territories and from
the various ethno-cultural communities, to give a full account of the situation that
exists within these communities.
The regional meetings imparted a great deal of knowledge and information about elder
abuse to all who participated. However, the National Seniors Council came to the
conclusion that what was learned was only the 'tip oI the iceberg.¨
There are no quick fixes or simple solutions in addressing the issue of elder abuse. The
challenges in raising awareness, responding to elder abuse and ultimately mitigating and
eliminating it are many, but the energy, commitment and expertise already exists among
those who have taken on this task across the country.
Participants at the regional meetings are looking to the federal government to take a
leadership role on the issue of elder abuse at a macro level, recognizing that delivery
occurs at the provincial, territorial and community levels.
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 14
Advice to the Federal Government
The National Seniors Council advises the federal government to consider the following
summary of areas for action, as suggested during the regional meetings:
Awareness
Take the lead in developing and implementing a coordinated national awareness campaign.
Build on the awareness generated by World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Examine the feasibility of proposing that the United Nations formalize World Elder
Abuse Awareness Day on its calendar.
Knowledge transfer and information dissemination
Support the development of a centralized mechanism for knowledge transfer and
information exchange.
Work in partnership with national organizations that have shown leadership in the
dissemination of information.
Launch and support an annual national symposium that would allow for knowledge
transfer, information dissemination and education.
Training
Work in partnership with provinces and post-secondary institutions to encourage
curriculum development specific to elder abuse and encourage the development of
standards for professionals and personal support workers.
Research
Conduct research or enter into partnerships with organizations that conduct research.
Some ideas for research include:
updating existing research on causes, incidence and prevalence of elder abuse;
examining the association between mental health issues, substance abuse and
elder abuse;
examining the consequences of elder abuse within families, communities and
among different ethno-cultural populations;
investigating the possible impact of ageism on elder abuse; and
designing an evaluation framework for tools and interventions used to detect and
respond to elder abuse.
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse
15
Resources for community responses to elder abuse
Provide support for volunteers to build capacity within the voluntary sector to
respond to elder abuse.
Examine the New Horizons for Seniors Program to determine the benefits of multi-
year funding arrangements for program stakeholders and re-evaluate the application
process to determine how to simplify it.
Legal considerations
Develop options for working with the public and private sectors (e.g., hospitals and
banks) to ensure a better understanding of how to apply privacy legislation.
Examine federal legislative and legal frameworks to better understand how they may
be applied to cases of elder abuse.
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 16
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse
17
Members of the National Seniors Council
Jean-Guy Soulière, Chair of the Council
After a successful career with the federal public service, Jean-Guy Soulière
was the Executive Director of the Federal Superannuates National
Association (FSNA) for over 12 years. He is the Chair and Spokesperson
for the Congress of National Seniors` Organizations since 2002 and a
member of the Public Service Pension Advisory Committee. He holds
a degree Irom the University oI Ottawa and is Iluently bilingual.
Sandra Hirst, Member
Sandra Hirst, PhD, of Calgary, Alberta, is the President of the Canadian
Association on Gerontology. A gerontological nurse by training, she is
also an associate professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University
of Calgary. Dr. Hirst has published numerous articles on a variety of
topics related to seniors. She has served and currently sits on many
boards and advisory councils, including the Seniors Advisory Council
for Alberta, the Canadian Gerontological Nursing Association and the
National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly Project. Dr. Hirst is the
recipient of numerous awards, including the Mary Morrison Davis Award
(Alberta Association on Gerontology, 2006) and an Honourary LiIe
Membership (2001) with the Alberta Gerontological Nurses Association.
Patricia Humenny, Member
Patricia Humenny of Clavet, Saskatchewan, has had a very rich and
diverse career with positions in both small business, government, social
services and the private sector. She has also served in executive
positions for a number of community and service organizations, such as
the Canadian Association of the Mentally Handicapped. Ms. Humenny`s
educational background includes nursing, accounting, sociology,
economics and business law. Her nursing training and various other
positions have given Ms. Humenny the opportunity to be involved with
seniors on many levels throughout her career. In 2005, she was
awarded the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal in recognition of her
contributions to her community and the province of Saskatchewan.
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 18
Marilyn Loveless, Member
Marilyn Loveless of Victoria, British Columbia, has recently retired as
Director of the national award winning Shoal Centre (S.H.O.A.L
Sidney Healthy Options for Active Living) a centre that addresses the
needs of seniors in the community. Her work experience in the past two
decades has been dedicated to enhancing and promoting the overall
well-being of seniors. Ms. Loveless has experience as a teacher, a
school trustee and a municipal councillor. She is a long-time volunteer
and has served on many boards and committees. She was awarded the
125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal for
Community Service.
Daphne Nahmiash, Member
Daphne Nahmiash, PhD, of Montréal, Quebec, is an active member of
and former Chair of the McGill Centre for Studies in Aging Education
Committee. She is presently the chairperson of the Notre-Dame-de-
Grâce (NDG) Community Committee on Elder Abuse. She was an
Adjunct Professor in Gerontology and Social Services at Université
Laval and McGill University. She has recently retired from her position
as Director of Professional Services of CLSC NDG and as
Commissioner of Complaints and Quality of Services at the Centre de
santé et de services sociaux Cavendish in Montréal. Dr. Nahmiash has
been working in the Iield oI seniors` health and social services for the
past 45 years. She has been part of many committees, including at the
Quebec Health and Social Services Ministry where she produced
government reports on senior abuse, neglect and services to seniors.
Some of her awards include Woman oI the Year 20052006, awarded
by the Montréal Council of Women for initiatives to improve the
quality of life of seniors.
Cécile Plourde, Member
Cécile Plourde of Montréal, Québec, has been the president of the
Fédération de l`âge d`or du Québec (FADOQ)Mouvement des aînés
du Québec for the Montréal region since 2000. The FADOQ is the
largest seniors` group in Quebec and is made up of 280,000 members.
Ms. Plourde, a graduate of Université Laval, worked in the health
profession for 40 years as a registered nurse. Ms. Plourde has been active
in her community for many years and has served on many committees,
including the Table de concertation des aînés de l`Île de Montréal and
the regional selection committees for the Engagés dans l`action pour les
aînés du Québec and New Horizons grant programs. Ms. Plourde has
also been a member of the family committee at the Conférence
régionale des élus de Montréal since 2005.
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse
19
Rémi Plourde, Member
Rémi Plourde of Chicoutimi, Quebec, is a senior as well as a retired
educational administrator. He is currently serving on the Conseil
d`administration pour la Iusion des écoles privées Séminaire de
Chicoutimi et Lycée du Saguenay. He is also part oI a school expansion
sub-committee. Mr. Plourde worked as an administrator at the Lac
Saint Jean music camp Ior 12 years. He also served on the board of
directors as the director of student services and then served
simultaneously as the chairman, and the director of students and
human, financial and material resources. Mr. Plourde is familiar with
the issues faced by seniors.
The Reverend Canon Derwyn Shea, Member
The Reverend Canon Derwyn Shea oI Toronto, Ontario, is the Rector
oI St. Hilda`s Anglican Church and Chairman and CEO oI St. Hilda`s
Towers, one of the largest single stand alone residential care facilities in
Ontario. He was Priest-in-Charge Ior 28 years at St. Clement (Riverdale)
Parish. He established a number of local initiatives geared towards
youth and low-income seniors. Reverend Shea was appointed Canon Ior
the Diocese oI Toronto by the Anglican Church in 2002. He is a Iormer
Toronto City and Metro Councillor, as well as a former Ontario Member
of Provincial Parliament. He has served on numerous boards, chairs,
and commissions, including the Children`s Aid Society, the Mayor`s
Committee on Race Relations and the Police Commission. He was the
Iormer Chairman oI the O`KeeIe Centre Ior the PerIorming Arts in
Toronto and President of the Canadian National Exhibition. He was
awarded the 125th Anniversary oI the ConIederation oI Canada Medal
Ior Community Service as a result of his work and advocacy.
Dr. Doo Ho Shin, Member
Dr. Doo Ho Shin oI Vancouver, British Columbia, an active partner in
BC Bio Medical Laboratory Ior over 30 years, is presently practicing as
a general pathologist in Fraser Health (largely at Surrey Memorial
Hospital). Fraser Health serves a population oI 1.46 million people,
approximately 1/3 oI the total population oI British Columbia. Dr. Shin
has served on various hospital committees, including Infection Control
and Physician Credentials. He has been actively involved in community
work including arts, education and seniors issues in the metro
Vancouver area.
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 20
Joan Tufts, Member
Joan Tufts of Saulnierville, Nova Scotia, is a retired nurse who is
currently an Addiction Services Counsellor with a special emphasis on
nicotine addiction. Ms. Tufts has served in a variety of roles involving
seniors and home care. She is currently a voluntary Director on the
Mental Health Foundation Board of Nova Scotia and sits on that board
and the Clare Community Health Board. Ms. Tufts won the 2005
Inspiring Lives Award from the Mental Health Foundation Board of
Nova Scotia.
Edward Wade, Member
Edward Wade was a teacher in Newfoundland for 30 years. He has a
Master`s Degree in Educational Administration. Since his retirement,
Mr. Wade has worked in the fields of community development and
literacy. As a Literacy Coordinator, he developed a Strategic Literacy
Plan: Many Hearts-One Voice Ior community centres in St. John`s.
Since 2005, Mr. Wade has worked on contract with the Seniors Resource
Centre in St. John`s, where he is currently coordinating the replication
oI a pilot proiect, 'Health Care and Nutrition for Older Adults and
Seniors,¨ in seven rural NewIoundland communities. In addition to his
volunteer work on numerous Boards, he is an elected member of
Literacy Newfoundland and Labrador, the vice-chair of the Open Book
Literacy Council and Brighter Futures Coalition, and a member of the
St. John`s Crime Prevention Committee.
Bev Weeks, Member
Bev Weeks of Harvey, New Brunswick, is the founder of Harvey
Outreach for Seniors, an organization developed to meet the needs of
seniors. She is also a founding and lifetime member of the New
Brunswick Home Support Association. Ms. Weeks has served on many
committees and has conducted research projects in the Iield oI seniors`
issues. She is a founding and continuing member of the Third Age
Centre housed at St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick.
She was the New Brunswick representative on the Board of the Canadian
Association for Community Care. Some of her awards include the
Marion Stevenson Award for outstanding contribution to Community Care
and the Queen`s Golden Jubilee Medal for her work on seniors` issues.
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse
21
List of Participants at Meetings on
Elder Abuse
September / October 2007
List of Participants
September 17, 2007 Toronto
Debbie Benczkowsci
Chief Operating Officer, Alzheimer Society of Canada
Joan Hill
Expert on Elder Abuse (Actor - theatrical vignettes)
Teri Kay
Executive Director, the Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
Lisa Manuel
Manager, Seniors & Caregivers Support Services, Family Service Association of Toronto
Professor Lynn McDonald
Director, Institute for Life Course and Aging, University of Toronto
Thelma McGillivray
Ontario Society (Coalition) of Senior Citizens` Organizations
Dr. Elizabeth Podnieks
Vice-President, International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
Deborah Tagornak
Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada
Judith Wahl
Executive Director, Advocacy Centre for the Elderly
Christina Wolf
Detective, Ottawa Police Service Elder Abuse Unit
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 22
September 19, 2007 Montréal
Évangéline Arsenault
Réseau québécois pour contrer les abus envers les aînés
Dr. Marie Beaulieu
Full Professor, Research Centre on Aging, Université de Sherbrooke
Claire Bernard
Legal Advisor, La Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse
Maurice Boucher
President, Lévis Chapter, Association québécoise de défense des droits des personnes
retraitées et préretraitées (AQDR)
Karine Genest
La Fédération de l`âge d`or du Québec
Henri Gervais
Executive Director, Forum des citoyens aînés de Montréal
Georges Lalande
President, Conseil des aînés du Québec
Maxine Lithwick
Elder Abuse Centre of Quebec; CLSC René-Cassin Institute of Social Gerontology of Quebec
Ann Soden
Ms. Soden is a Montreal lawyer pioneering in the field of elder law in Canada.
Lucie Tremblay
Director, Nursing Care and Clinical Services, Maimonides Geriatric Centre, Montreal
Dr. Mark Yaffe
Member of the Board of Directors, Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
September 26, 2007 Calgary
Louis Adria
Elder Advocates of Alberta Society
Ruth Maria Adria
Elder Advocates of Alberta Society
Carla Amerson
Alberta Council on Aging
Angel Calnuk
Manitoba Society of Seniors
Eva Chan
Community Development Coordinator, Action Group on Elder Abuse (AGEA)
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse
23
Barb Hood
Executive Director, NWT Seniors Society
Jane Kilpatrick
Age and Opportunity Programs and Services for Winnipeg Older Adults, Manitoba
Elliot Paus-Jenssen
Canadian Network Ior the Prevention oI Elder Abuse, Saskatoon Council of Aging
Lesley Sutton
Kerby Centre
Sharon Thomas
Northwest Territories Coalition Against Family Violence
Brian Trainor
Police Veteran and Expert on Elder Abuse
Robert Wiles
The Action Group on Elder Abuse, The Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Network
September 28, 2007 Vancouver
Lendina Bambrick
Kootenai Community Centre Society
Robert Blacker
Senior Support Services
Joan Braun
Executive Director, B.C. Coalition to Eliminate Abuse oI Seniors
Jeff Burton
B.C. Crime Prevention Association
Dr. Gloria Gutman
Simon Fraser University
Gloria Kerwin
Vice President, Yukon Council on Aging, Seniors InIormation Centre
Alison Leaney
B.C. Association oI Community Response Networks
Jean Sickman
Council oI Senior Citizens` Organizations oI B.C.
Charmaine Spencer
Interim Chair, Canadian Network Ior the Prevention oI Elder Abuse
Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 24
October 3, 2007 Moncton
Rina Arseneault
Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research
Annie Boyle
President, PEI Senior Citizens Federation
Hélène Comeau
RCMP Detachment Meteghan, Nova Scotia
Valerie DeLong
Social Worker, Department of Family and Community Services
Nila Ipson
Vice-President, Group of IX Nova Scotia Seniors Organizations
Yvonne Jacobs
Peer Advocate Program Manager, Seniors Resource Centre of Newfoundland and
Labrador, Member of the Elder Abuse Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador
Dave Murnaghan
RCMP Charlottetown, Secretary Treasurer, PEI Seniors Safety Program
Dr. Judy Lynn Richards
Professor Sociology and Anthropology, University of Prince Edward Island, and Member
of the Board of Directors of CNPEA

Paper ISBN: HS4-38/2007 Cat. No.: 978-0-662-05329-3 PDF ISBN: HS4-38/2007E-PDF Cat. No.: 978-0-662-47366-4

Message from the National Seniors Council
On behalf of the National Seniors Council, I am pleased to submit our report on elder two initial priorities. The regional meetings with experts and stakeholders convened by the Council this fall were very informative and helpful to us. We were impressed by the commitment and energy that participants demonstrated in their work on elder abuse and their respect for seniors. They provided valuable insights on this serious matter, and their knowledge, expertise and ideas are reflected in our report. Participants made recommendations on a wide range of issues related to elder abuse which were carefully considered by the Council. While we are encouraged by the momentum for action on elder abuse that is building within the federal government, this report contains our advice on how it could b issues of awareness and prevention. The National Seniors Council hopes that its advice will provide the impetus for new federal initiatives to help address this seri of life. Respectfully submitted,

Jean-Guy Soulière Chair, National Seniors Council

Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse

i

ii Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse .

......................................................................... 13 Members of the National Seniors Council .............................................................. 3 Introduction................................................................................................................................................................ 5 What Participants Told Us.................................................................................................... 11 Conclusions....................................................... 1 Foreword..................................................Table of Contents Mandate of the National Seniors Council........................ 11 Legal considerations.............................................................. 8 Training ... 17 List of Participants at Meetings on Elder Abuse ............................................... 10 Resources for community responses to elder abuse .................................... 21 Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse iii .................................................................. 7 Awareness ........................................................................................... 7 Knowledge transfer and information dissemination................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 9 Research.........................................................................................

.

and d) ensure a comprehensive and collaborative approach in its examination of the policies.Mandate of the National Seniors Council The National Seniors Council shall advise the Government of Canada. the National Seniors Council shall: a) advise on current and emerging issues and opportunities related to the quality of life and well-being of seniors. c) deliver well-balanced advice. and other relevant stakeholders and interested parties. programs and services that impact the lives of seniors by consulting with other federal departments. b) as needed. As directed by the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development and the Minister of Health. provincial/territorial advisory bodies on seniors. and holding consultative meetings. undertake activities such as commissioning research. seniors. other levels of government and advisory bodies involved in seniors-related efforts. including the opportunities and challenges arising from a rapidly growing and increasingly diverse aging population. programs and services. Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 1 . through the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development and the Minister of Health on all matters related to the well-being and quality of life of seniors. taking into account the views of experts. convening expert panels and roundtables. both now and in the future.

2 Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse .

improvements are likely to continue into the future for this category of seniors. the proportion of seniors living in low income has declined sharply (from 21. With this report. It was equall work incorporates the respect for seniors that is so richly deserved. National Seniors Council The National Seniors Council was established in March 2007.Foreword Jean-Guy Soulière Chair. wealth and expenditure patterns. More importantly.3 percent in 1980 to 6. and to better understand the factors that lead to pockets of low-income seniors among unattached seniors.1 percent in 2004). Elder abuse This fall. the National Seniors Council held regional meetings with a total of 50 experts and stakeholders. the Secretary of State (Seniors) identified two initial priorities: to develop ways to raise awareness of elder abuse and combat this issue. Low-income seniors The National Seniors Council began examining the issue of low-income seniors through a review of income. expertise and commitment across the country. Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 3 . This advice will take advantage of existing networks. for agreeing to share their views with us. it sent a strong message to the National Seniors Council that elder abuse is a serious social problem and that further action by governments is required. the National Seniors Council offers practical advice to the federal government to address elder abuse. programs and policies. At the inaugural meeting of the Council in May 2007 in Ottawa. to discuss the nature and extent of elder abuse in Canada. capacity. they welcomed the meetings and expressed strong support for continued dialogue on elder abuse. Given that more and more women have entered the labour force. In its mandated role of providing advice to the Government of Canada. The National Seniors Council wishes to thank all participants. many of whom volunteer their time and expertise to the issue of elder abuse. as well as through a review of public pensions. due in part to which include a Guaranteed Income Supplement for low-income seniors. particularly women. the National Seniors Council is pleased to provide a report on the first priority and an update on its work toward the second priority. This diagnostic work revealed the following conclusions: Since 1980. The level of participation and interest demonstrated were a testimony to the commitment of individuals and their organizations to combat elder abuse and improve the quality of life of seniors living in all regions of Canada. The feedback from participants was very positive.

The National Seniors Council will consider the kind of work that might be needed in the future in this area. 4 Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse .A relatively small group of seniors living in low income remains. Whether men or women. bearing in mind jurisdictional considerations. unattached seniors who have a poor work history (and therefore little workplace pension wealth or personal savings) are at a much higher risk of experiencing low income in old age. Provinces and territories provide assistance to low-income seniors through income supplements and programs and services that help reduce their expenditures.

In the current demographic context of a rapidly increasing seniors population. physical. it is clearly an issue that requires attention. elder abuse has remained a largely hidden issue. 2007. Elder abuse may take many forms: financial. information gathered by the National Seniors Council during the regional meetings. Nonetheless. or a general lack of awareness about the issue. It is difficult to estimate the prevalence and incidence of elder abuse in Canada due to factors such as under-reporting. confusion about what constitutes abuse. Elder abuse is an issue that may affect seniors in all walks of life. based on available Canadian data. However. it is estimated that between 4 percent and 10 percent of older adults in Canada experience some type of abuse. and those who are frail. female. Secretary of State (Seniors). spiritual and neglect (either self-neglect by seniors or neglect by others). seniors living in institutional settings. some seniors may be at greater risk of experiencing some type of abuse: those who are older. The National Seniors Council is pleased that the October 16. prepared for the National Seniors Council (unpublished) Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 5 . August 2007. ageism). at the inaugural meeting of the National Seniors Council. The National Seniors Council hopes that this report will provide further impetus to the important work on elder abuse already underway across Canada. Speech from the Throne touched on this important issue. with untold social and ors who are victims of abuse. Momentum for action on elder abuse is building within the federal government. who have a cognitive impairment or a physical disability. Why elder abuse is a priority For too long. emotional or psychological.g. sexual. dependent on others. iderations that emerged from the meetings and advice to Ministers on possible areas for action. e. cared for by someone with an addiction.Introduction The Honourable Marjory LeBreton. systemic (e. limitations in statistics. May 2007. isolated.

Which good practices are you aware of for responding to and/or preventing elder abuse? 2 World Report on Violence and Health. Regional meetings on elder abuse In order to help understand the issue. service providers and academics participated in the meetings. and Identify areas for possible federal government action. World Health Organization. 2007 Co-chaired by Cécile Plourde. and to identify good practices for recognizing. the National Seniors Council held five regional meetings on elder abuse with experts and stakeholders. and to strive to increase awareness of the extent and nature of the issue. Share good practices for raising awareness. Switzerland. The five meetings took place in: Toronto: Montréal: Calgary: Vancouver: Moncton: September 17. 6 Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse . 2007 Co-chaired by Marilyn Loveless October 3. 2007 Co-chaired by Bev Weeks & Joan Tufts These regional meetings were guided by the definition of elder abuse that is commonlyor repeated act. law enforcement agencies. to achieve a better understanding of its causes and consequences for individuals. representing organizations serving seniors.It is time for Canadians to focus greater attention on the issue of elder abuse. 2007 Co-chaired by Sandi Hirst September 28. responding and preventing elder abuse. which causes harm or distress The objectives of the meetings were to: Enable the National Seniors Council to learn more about the issue of elder abuse. responding to and preventing elder abuse. Geneva. or lack of appropriate action. The meetings were moderated by the Chair of the National Seniors Council and co-chaired by the Council members from each of the five regions. 2007. Which activities have you or your organization undertaken to address the issue of elder abuse? 3. Which good practices are you aware of to enhance awareness of elder abuse? 4. families and communities. Rémi Plourde & Daphne Nahmiash September 26. (2002). legal experts. The discussions at each meeting were guided by four overarching questions: 1. How does the issue of elder abuse come up in your work with seniors? 2. 2007 Co-chaired by Reverend Shea September 19. between September 17 and October 3. occurring within a relationship where there is an expectation of trust. to ensure that people are able to get help and know where to turn for assistance. Fifty individuals.

six themes emerged across 1. 3. must be enhanced and accelerated.What Participants Told Us Although each regional meeting was distinct and each made a unique contribution to the der abuse. Education and training 4. Research 5. Legal considerations Awareness the need to strengthen these Stop Fraud. nsider building on existing seniors organizations to increase Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 7 . 6. Awareness 2. In Alberta. the Alberta Action Committee s and questions to encourage discussion about how to recognize elder abuse.

these efforts need to be enhanced significantly to ensure that current information exchange is readily available. which will in turn intensify the demand for services Knowledge transfer and information dissemination Knowledge transfer and information dissemination are fundamentally important to address elder abuse effectively and efficiently across the country. To maximize the impact of a national awareness campaign. Recognition that raising awareness may result in an increase in reporting incidents of elder abuse. WEEAD was launched by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse in 2006. service providers. Become knowledgeable about current provincial. families and caregivers. health care professionals. Access research and tools necessary to inform their work. ion. In Toronto. The federal government and all provincial/territorial governments participated in WEEAD in 2006 and 2007. including its Aboriginal peoples. and Understand how best to utilize limited human and financial resources. financial abuse was cited as the most frequently occurring form of abuse. 3 Throughout the regional meetings.Participants suggested building on the awareness generated by the celebration of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) in Canada on June 15. in order to avoid duplication of effort. posters and information kits were developed and distributed across the country in both years. Through funding from federal. followed by psychological/emotional and physical 8 Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse . it was suggested that the prominence of WEEAD could be heightened by making it part of the United Nations formal calendar. national and international work underway. the following factors were identified as important to consider in the design of an approach: Messages must be designed to reach specific target audiences such as seniors. knowledge and lessons learned. research and intervention strategies. Participants told the National Seniors Council that in spite of current efforts at communication among those who work in the field on best practices. Specific types of elder abuse should be targeted. Materials must be available in multiple languages. provincial and territorial governments. financial institutions. must be acknowledged and respected. along with numerous events that took place at the community level. Opportunities must be created to allow individuals and organizations to: Communicate with each other and share their experiences. The federal government could initiate steps to examine the feasibility of formalizing WEEAD on the United Nations calendar of events.

In general. nursing and social work. For example. Its goal is to establish links between university researchers and community practitioners in medicine. educate people on how to recognize elder abuse and stimulate research. The National Seniors Council heard about a regional project in the Greater Lévis region that uses an interdisciplinary model. participants did note improvements in training in some instances. However. share information.Participants provided examples of good practices. nursing. To facilitate the coordination of information dissemination and knowledge transfer. in which professionals meet monthly to review cases of elder abuse. Academics who participated in the regional meetings identified a need to invest in training for future health care and social service professionals. An existing venue could take on this function or a stand-alone elder abuse clearinghouse could be established. introduce basic geriatric knowledge into Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 9 . There was general agreement that a centralized mechanism was needed to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and information. curricula for training frontline professionals are not seen as offering education on how to respond to the needs of an aging society. social work and with other allied health professionals. share their expertise and coordinate actions to deal with reported cases. a similar multi-disciplinary model exists where an RCMP officer. The CNPEA consists of professionals community organizations and elder abuse consultants affiliated with provincial e awareness. consumers federations and the public trustee organized a seniors safety program in which experts visit seniors in their own homes to provide information on awareness and prevention of elder abuse. education and information dissemination. where professionals from a variety of disciplines worked together to share their knowledge and develop effective interventions in situations of elder abuse. the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE) is a national network of researchers and practitioners involved in the care of older adults through medicine. to develop and improve practices for the car develop and improve educational initiatives. In a community in Prince Edward Island. Participants suggested that the federal government launch and support an annual national symposium on elder abuse that would allow for knowledge transfer. participants recommended that the federal government consider working in partnership with national organizations that have shown leadership in the distribution of information. around issues of aging and elder abuse. These care and service providers are often the first to encounter seniors who could be at risk or who are victims of abuse. For example. community and seniors organizations. An initial priority topic for a national symposium of this type Training Training on elder abuse is essential for professionals who provide care and service to seniors. an organization such as the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (CNPEA) might be a possible partner.

knowledge transfer and professional development. Participants recognized NICE as a training and educational vehicle. Specific suggestions made by participants about the types of research that would enhance understanding of elder abuse in Canada included: Updating existing research on causes. and provide specific training programs in geriatric specializations. They felt that research alone is not the answer. is one example described to the Council by a lead partner. but that it should be part of a comprehensive plan to ensure that actions are based on accurate and valid information. The National Seniors Council heard about several promising research initiatives. a national research project begun in 2006 in Toronto. At all of the regional meetings. incidence and prevalence of elder abuse. They suggested that enhanced training be considered. Examining the association between mental health issues. Research Participants recognized that research on elder abuse is important and suggested that it be one of the activities included in the overall action plan to address elder abuse. participants mentioned a lack of training for personal support workers who provide services including personal care. particularly on families. shopping and companionship. and partners from six universities. as well as key community and long-term care stakeholders. as well as one for information dissemination. 10 Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse . With financial support from the Government of Canada. this project is a collaborative effort of the Univer for Life Course and Aging. housekeeping. Investigating the possible impact of ageism on elder abuse. and Designing an evaluation framework for tools and interventions to detect and respond to abuse. nursing and social work. Specific training in elder abuse is important for personal support workers because they may work with seniors who are at risk of abuse or who are victims of abuse. The objective of the project is to enhance the capacity of communities across Canada to better understand and respond to the complex issues of abuse and neglect in institutional facilities. It also develops training programs for practitioners already in the field. through the National Population Health Fund of the Public Health Agency of Canada. Participants also noted a lack of specialized training for those in the criminal justice system who deal with victims of elder abuse and their families. substance abuse and elder abuse. communities and among different ethno-cultural populations in Canada. Examining the consequences of elder abuse. A Way Forward. to help them expand and refine their skills in caring for older adults. among others.core courses in medicine.

During some of the regional meetings. The relevant provisions include those related to physical and sexual abuse. Participants delivered a unanimous message that without adequate and sustainable funding. participants debated whether or not the Criminal Code should be amended to further facilitate dealing with elder abuse. Legal experts at the meetings. The Criminal Code describes the different offences that someone can be charged with if they are accused of abusive actions toward older adults. Legal considerations A number of legal remedies exist in Canada to deal with elder abuse and neglect. Effective legislation and legal tools exist that protect the rights of individuals. Participants noted. The 2007 increase in funds for national and regional elder abuse awareness projects under the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) was viewed as a very positive development. fraud and intimidation. but who are vulnerable to burnout. or indirectly. as frontline resources. in Ontario. it is imperative that action take place at the community level and that resources be allocated to this. by entering into partnerships with organizations that conduct research. human rights statutes and long-term care facilities regulation. adult guardianship. coordinators and trainers. but human resources are also critical. sentencing provisions in the Code require the courts to consider evidence of age-based bias as an aggravating factor. that the parameters of the community-based funding provided by NHSP (one-time grants) do not sustain the continuation of promising local projects that address elder abuse.It was suggested that the federal government can contribute to research on elder abuse either directly. What is lacking is awareness of these tools and the steps that should be taken by social workers and law enforcement professionals who are often the first to encounter situations of elder abuse. such as those representing La Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse. Along with federal criminal law defined in the Criminal Code of Canada. criminal harassment in situations of chronic psychological abuse. neglect. efforts to combat elder abuse in local communities are compromised. extortion. In addition. in Quebec. Many communities rely heavily on volunteers to work directly with seniors at risk. who are essential in delivering these services. Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 11 . breach of trust. Participants also emphasized that not only is funding important for those who work in the field. and the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE). Participants suggested that the National Seniors Council urge the federal government to provide support to these volunteers. property theft. there are provincial and territorial frameworks pertaining to adult protection legislation. Resources for community responses to elder abuse To address elder abuse. advised that changes to existing legislation are not necessary. however. family violence statutes. by conducting research itself.

There was a strong view among participants that legal aid should be more widely available for low-income seniors and/or those who have been abused so income is not an impediment to accessing legal services. airlines and telecommunications companies. such as the one used in ACE. industries in the federally-regulated private sector have taken steps to ensure that they are not in violation of privacy regulations. The Act now applies to personal information collected. One has to be able to use the law effectively when approp the federal government undertake an examination of federal legislative and legal frameworks to better understand how they may be utilized and applied to cases of elder abuse. 12 Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse . As one legal expert told the National Seniors a solution. which sets out regulations for how private sector organizations may collect. used or disclosed in the course of commercial activities by the federally-regulated private sector organizations such as banks. Interdisciplinary models were described. manufacturers and other provincially-regulated organizations. With respect to federal privacy legislation. examples were provided of instances where banks were reluctant to report suspected cases of possible fraud or abuse of power of attorney. used or disclosed by the retail sector. healthcare professionals reported that there is reluctance to report possible physical or psychological abuse of elders for fear of repercussions due to infractions of privacy legislation. Legal experts at the regional meetings advised that it is important to recognize that legal solutions alone are not as effective in combating elder abuse as social solutions that include the legal community. Initially. Many participants reported that the misinterpretation of the scope and intent of federal and provincial privacy legislation can be a barrier to reporting elder abuse cases. However. As a result. claiming that they were unable to do so due to restrictions placed upon them as a result of privacy legislation. the service industry. The National Seniors Council was asked to consider how the federal government might be able to work with these sectors to ensure they understand the application of privacy legislation. except in provinces that have enacted legislation similar to PIPEDA. Legal experts informed the National Seniors Council of the need to clarify whether reporting a suspicion of elder abuse violates current privacy legislation. Participants encouraged the federal government to look at ways to further include the legal community in an interdisciplinary approach to elder abuse. publishing companies. it is a tool. in which legal experts are part of a team approach that addresses all aspects of elder abuse as it occurs within families and communities in which older adults live. As well. PIPEDA applied only to personal information about customers or employees that was collected. use or disclose personal information in the course of commercial activities. individuals are protected by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

which will in turn put pressure on limited human and financial resources. academia.Conclusions Several overarching considerations emerged as a result of the regional meetings and need to be taken into account if elder abuse is to be effectively addressed: Raising awareness of elder abuse and what constitutes abuse will increase the demand for community-based and front-line services. The regional meetings imparted a great deal of knowledge and information about elder abuse to all who participated. An interdisciplinary approach is critical for making progress on elder abuse. law. the National Seniors Council came to the conclusion that what was learned wa There are no quick fixes or simple solutions in addressing the issue of elder abuse. A cultural perspective is necessary to fully understand how elder abuse is perceived and dealt with in different cultural contexts. non-profit and voluntary sectors. The National Seniors Council was not completely satisfied that there was sufficient representation at their regional meetings. commitment and expertise already exists among those who have taken on this task across the country. social work. including areas such as health. including among Aboriginal peoples. Because this abuse is multi-faceted and occurs in many forms. Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 13 . the involvement of a broad range of disciplines is needed. to give a full account of the situation that exists within these communities. it requires different types of interventions. The challenges in raising awareness. It occurs in different forms. territorial and community levels. Elder abuse is a complex phenomenon. However. recognizing that delivery occurs at the provincial. in diverse settings and with different dynamics. Participants at the regional meetings are looking to the federal government to take a leadership role on the issue of elder abuse at a macro level. responding to elder abuse and ultimately mitigating and eliminating it are many. institutional care sectors and governments. from the three northern territories and from the various ethno-cultural communities. but the energy.

14 Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse . examining the consequences of elder abuse within families. as suggested during the regional meetings: Awareness Take the lead in developing and implementing a coordinated national awareness campaign. Build on the awareness generated by World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Launch and support an annual national symposium that would allow for knowledge transfer. Work in partnership with national organizations that have shown leadership in the dissemination of information. information dissemination and education. Some ideas for research include: updating existing research on causes. communities and among different ethno-cultural populations. examining the association between mental health issues. and designing an evaluation framework for tools and interventions used to detect and respond to elder abuse. incidence and prevalence of elder abuse. Research Conduct research or enter into partnerships with organizations that conduct research. Examine the feasibility of proposing that the United Nations formalize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on its calendar. investigating the possible impact of ageism on elder abuse. substance abuse and elder abuse. Knowledge transfer and information dissemination Support the development of a centralized mechanism for knowledge transfer and information exchange.Advice to the Federal Government The National Seniors Council advises the federal government to consider the following summary of areas for action. Training Work in partnership with provinces and post-secondary institutions to encourage curriculum development specific to elder abuse and encourage the development of standards for professionals and personal support workers.

Examine federal legislative and legal frameworks to better understand how they may be applied to cases of elder abuse.. Legal considerations Develop options for working with the public and private sectors (e. Examine the New Horizons for Seniors Program to determine the benefits of multiyear funding arrangements for program stakeholders and re-evaluate the application process to determine how to simplify it.Resources for community responses to elder abuse Provide support for volunteers to build capacity within the voluntary sector to respond to elder abuse. hospitals and banks) to ensure a better understanding of how to apply privacy legislation.g. Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 15 .

16 Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse .

accounting. Saskatchewan. sociology. including the Seniors Advisory Council for Alberta. Dr. the Canadian Gerontological Nursing Association and the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly Project. Member Sandra Hirst. economics and business law. Alberta. PhD. social services and the private sector. Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 17 . she is also an associate professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary. Hirst is the recipient of numerous awards. is the President of the Canadian Association on Gerontology. He is the Chair and Spokesperson for the Congress of National Senior a member of the Public Service Pension Advisory Committee. of Calgary. Jean-Guy Soulière was the Executive Director of the Federal Superannuates National Association (FSNA) for over 12 years. has had a very rich and diverse career with positions in both small business. She has also served in executive positions for a number of community the Canadian Association of the Me educational background includes nursing. A gerontological nurse by training. Chair of the Council After a successful career with the federal public service. Humenny the opportunity to be involved with seniors on many levels throughout awarded the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal in recognition of her contributions to her community and the province of Saskatchewan. including the Mary Morrison Davis Award (Alberta Association on Geront a Gerontological Nurses Association. Patricia Humenny. Her nursing training and various other positions have given Ms. government. He holds Sandra Hirst. She has served and currently sits on many boards and advisory councils. Hirst has published numerous articles on a variety of topics related to seniors. Member Patricia Humenny of Clavet.Members of the National Seniors Council Jean-Guy Soulière. Dr.

Member Marilyn Loveless of Victoria. Québec.H. a school trustee and a municipal councillor. She was awarded the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal for Community Service. Cécile Plourde. Nahmiash has health and social services for the past 45 years. Loveless has experience as a teacher.O. of Montréal. Member Cécile Plourde of Montréal. neglect and services to seniors. Member Daphne Nahmiash. Some of her awards include d by the Montréal Council of Women for initiatives to improve the quality of life of seniors. She has been part of many committees. Ms. The FADOQ is the nd is made up of 280. Ms. worked in the health profession for 40 years as a registered nurse. including at the Quebec Health and Social Services Ministry where she produced government reports on senior abuse. is an active member of and former Chair of the McGill Centre for Studies in Aging Education Committee.000 members. British Columbia. has recently retired as Director of the national award winning Shoal Centre (S. She has recently retired from her position as Director of Professional Services of CLSC NDG and as Commissioner of Complaints and Quality of Services at the Centre de santé et de services sociaux Cavendish in Montréal.L Sidney Healthy Options for Active Living) a centre that addresses the needs of seniors in the community. PhD. Dr. a graduate of Université Laval.A. She was an Adjunct Professor in Gerontology and Social Services at Université Laval and McGill University. Her work experience in the past two decades has been dedicated to enhancing and promoting the overall well-being of seniors. Plourde. has been the president of the du Québec for the Montréal region since 2000. Plourde has been active in her community for many years and has served on many committees. including the Table de concertation d the regional selection committees for also been a member of the family committee at the Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal since 2005. 18 Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse .Marilyn Loveless. She is presently the chairperson of the Notre-Dame-deGrâce (NDG) Community Committee on Elder Abuse. Daphne Nahmiash. Ms. Quebec. She is a long-time volunteer and has served on many boards and committees.

one of the largest single stand alone residential care facilities in Parish. Dr.Rémi Plourde. including Infection Control and Physician Credentials. He is currently serving on the Conseil n sub-committee. and the director of students and human. Reve r r Toronto City and Metro Councillor. The Reverend Canon Derwyn Shea. Member n ittees. is a senior as well as a retired educational administrator. financial and material resources. including the Ch Committee on Race Relations and the Police Commission. chairs. He was the Toronto and President of the Cana bition. Member r Towers. Plourde is familiar with the issues faced by seniors. as well as a form r of Provincial Parliament. He established a number of local initiatives geared towards youth and low-income seniors. Plourde worked as an administrator at the Lac He also served on the board of directors as the director of student services and then served simultaneously as the chairman. Doo Ho Shin. He has been actively involved in community work including arts. Mr. and commissions. He was sult of his work and advocacy. Quebec. Member Rémi Plourde of Chicoutimi. education and seniors issues in the metro Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 19 . Mr. He has served on numerous boards.

Tufts has served in a variety of roles involving seniors and home care. She is currently a voluntary Director on the Mental Health Foundation Board of Nova Scotia and sits on that board and the Clare Community Health Board. is a retired nurse who is currently an Addiction Services Counsellor with a special emphasis on nicotine addiction. She is also a founding and lifetime member of the New Brunswick Home Support Association. He has a nistration. Wade has worked on contract with the Seniors Resource currently coordinating the replication and Nutrition for Older Adults and nd communities. Member Bev Weeks of Harvey. Wade has worked in the fields of community development and literacy. Member Joan Tufts of Saulnierville. Ms. Edward Wade.Joan Tufts. As a Literacy Coordinator. New Brunswick. She was the New Brunswick representative on the Board of the Canadian Association for Community Care. New Brunswick. he developed a Strategic Literacy Plan: Many Hearts-One Voice Since 2005. Ms. Fredericton. She is a founding and continuing member of the Third Age Centre housed at St. Some of her awards include the Marion Stevenson Award for outstanding contribution to Community Care Jubilee Medal for her wo 20 Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse . Mr. Member Edward Wade was a teacher in Newfoundland for 30 years. Nova Scotia. Mr. In addition to his volunteer work on numerous Boards. he is an elected member of Literacy Newfoundland and Labrador. an organization developed to meet the needs of seniors. Ms. Weeks has served on many committees and has conducted research projects in the issues. the vice-chair of the Open Book Literacy Council and Brighter Futures Coalition. Since his retirement. and a member of the Bev Weeks. Tufts won the 2005 Inspiring Lives Award from the Mental Health Foundation Board of Nova Scotia. is the founder of Harvey Outreach for Seniors. Thomas University.

theatrical vignettes) Teri Kay Executive Director. Advocacy Centre for the Elderly Christina Wolf Detective.List of Participants at Meetings on Elder Abuse September / October 2007 September 17. Institute for Life Course and Aging. International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse Deborah Tagornak Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada Judith Wahl Executive Director. Seniors & Caregivers Support Services. 2007 Toronto Debbie Benczkowsci Chief Operating Officer. Elizabeth Podnieks Vice-President. Ottawa Police Service Elder Abuse Unit Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 21 . the Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse Lisa Manuel Manager. Family Service Association of Toronto Professor Lynn McDonald Director. Alzheimer Society of Canada Joan Hill Expert on Elder Abuse (Actor . University of Toronto Thelma McGillivray Ontario Society (Coalition) of Dr.

September 19. CLSC René-Cassin Institute of Social Gerontology of Quebec Ann Soden Ms. Nursing Care and Clinical Services. Montreal Dr. Maimonides Geriatric Centre. Research Centre on Aging. Soden is a Montreal lawyer pioneering in the field of elder law in Canada. Université de Sherbrooke Claire Bernard Legal Advisor. Lucie Tremblay Director. Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse September 26. La Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse Maurice Boucher President. Association québécoise de défense des droits des personnes retraitées et préretraitées (AQDR) Karine Genest Henri Gervais Executive Director. 2007 Calgary Louis Adria Elder Advocates of Alberta Society Ruth Maria Adria Elder Advocates of Alberta Society Carla Amerson Alberta Council on Aging Angel Calnuk Manitoba Society of Seniors Eva Chan Community Development Coordinator. 2007 Montréal Évangéline Arsenault Réseau québécois pour contrer les abus envers les aînés Dr. Mark Yaffe Member of the Board of Directors. Forum des citoyens aînés de Montréal Georges Lalande President. Action Group on Elder Abuse (AGEA) 22 Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse . Conseil des aînés du Québec Maxine Lithwick Elder Abuse Centre of Quebec. Lévis Chapter. Marie Beaulieu Full Professor.

Barb Hood Executive Director. Saskatoon Council of Aging Lesley Sutton Kerby Centre Sharon Thomas Brian Trainor Robert Wiles The Action Group on Elder Abuse. Manitoba Elliot Paus-Jenssen Elder Abuse. Gloria Gutman Gloria Kerwin Alison Leaney Jean Sickman Charmaine Spencer Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse 23 . 2007 Vancouver Lendina Bambrick Robert Blacker Senior Support Services Joan Braun Jeff Burton Dr. NWT Seniors Society Jane Kilpatrick ces for Winnipeg Older Adults. The Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Network September 28.

PEI Seniors Safety Program Dr. Member of the Elder Abuse Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador Dave Murnaghan RCMP Charlottetown. Group of IX Nova Scotia Seniors Organizations Yvonne Jacobs Peer Advocate Program Manager. Judy Lynn Richards Professor Sociology and Anthropology. University of Prince Edward Island. 2007 Moncton Rina Arseneault Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research Annie Boyle President.October 3. Nova Scotia Valerie DeLong Social Worker. Secretary Treasurer. and Member of the Board of Directors of CNPEA 24 Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse . PEI Senior Citizens Federation Hélène Comeau RCMP Detachment Meteghan. Seniors Resource Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador. Department of Family and Community Services Nila Ipson Vice-President.