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Seniors’ Abuse Help Line

Senior abuse can happen anywhere. Help is available.

Senior abuse can happen anywhere and it often goes unannounced. Our Seniors’ Abuse Helplines are always open and our listeners are highly trained and can be reached at 780-454-8888.

If you are a senior experiencing abuse or suspect a senior you know is being abused, please don’t hesitate to call the Seniors’ Abuse Helpline. The helpline is available 24 hours a day for support, referrals, and crisis intervention.

  • Our listeners are highly trained and responsive
  • Services are non-judgmental and we’re here to help
  • Assistance is immediate, whenever you need it
  • All calls are confidential


Seniors’ Abuse Frequently Asked Questions

What is senior abuse? Senior abuse is any action or inaction by self or others that jeopardizes the health or well-being of an older adult. This includes physical, emotional, psychological, financial, sexual, or medication abuse as well as passive or active neglect. Seniors abuse violates your basic right to feel safe where you live. It is controlling behavior, which makes you feel intimidated or afraid and it can be illegal.

Who are the abused? It can be anyone! In 2001, the Edmonton Elder Abuse Intervention Team received 265 referrals. Based on the information collected on those referrals, the following was noted.

  • 71% of the clients were female.
  • 29% of the clients were male.
  • 56% of the time the victim was cohabiting with the alleged abuser.
  • The most common abuse identified was financial (43%) followed by physical abuse (33%). In 77% of the cases emotional abuse was the secondary type of abuse identified.

Who are the abusers? It can be anyone! Often the abuser lives with abused person or knows them well. They tend to have control and influence over an older adult and may have addictions, a history of mental health, or dependency issues. It is not uncommon for the abuser to have grown up in a violent and abusive environment.

How does the Helpline assist callers? The helpline provides confidential and anonymous support and information 24 hours a day. Callers are helped to talk through their issue and develop an action plan to deal with the abuse or crisis. Information on programs and services in the community is also provided.

Who answers the Helpline? The seniors’ abuse helpline is answered by Distress line volunteers.

What training do they receive? In addition to 64 hours of training in communication skills, suicide prevention, family violence, and community resources, distress line volunteers receive additional information and training in issues specific to senior abuse.

Is there follow-up for callers? Yes. For callers who agree, there is a follow-up telephone call. The calls are made by peer volunteers. They ensure the caller received appropriate referrals, provide additional support to access services, and re-assess the caller’s risk for further abuse.

Who is involved in this initiative? The Elder Abuse Intervention Team is a collaborative effort of:

  • Catholic Social Services
  • Edmonton Police Service
  • The City of Edmonton
  • The Canadian Mental Health Association – Edmonton Region
  • SAGE

Who funds the Seniors’ Abuse Helpline? Funding was received from the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region. Additional funding for marketing materials was provided by Clifford E. Lee Foundation and the Downtown Rotary Club, with creative support from Palmer Jarvis, DDB.

How significant is senior abuse in Edmonton? In Alberta, 11% of the population is over the age of 65. National statistics indicate that 7% of all seniors have experienced abuse. In Edmonton that percent amounts to roughly 8000 individuals.

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