1. Take steps to protect yourself
Question & AnswerI’m an older adult. How can I protect myself from abuse?
If you're not in danger right now, it's helpful to make a . That way you're prepared if something does happen.
To create a safety plan, you can use CLEO's free Guided Pathway for responding to elder abuse. It also has information and resources that help people to understand, prevent, and respond to and violence.
A shelter, the police, or a victim services worker may also be able to help you.
Your health and well-being
Staying as independent as possible is one way to help prevent abuse. Here are some examples of how to do this:
- have your own phone and open your own mail
- think carefully before deciding to have someone move in with you or before you move in with someone
- try to keep in touch with friends and family so you don't become isolated
- don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it
If you can, stay involved in your community by volunteering, going on outings, or visiting neighbours.
If possible, take control of your health care. Make sure you know what your health needs are now and what they could be if you get sick or have an accident. For example, you could:
- look into different options for getting care
- look into where you could buy or rent assistive devices and equipment, such as bath chairs, safety bars, walkers, and canes
- if you live in a retirement or , tell nurses, other staff, or management if you're not happy with your care
- make a Power of Attorney for Personal Care
Your finances and property
Financial abuse is the most common form of elder abuse. So try to do as much as you can to be involved and aware of what's happening with your money and belongings.
For example, when dealing with your finances:
- make sure information about your financial accounts and legal documents is up to date
- protect key financial and personal information by keeping it in a safe place, like a drawer with a lock or a safety deposit box
- don't share your passwords, any Personal Identification Numbers (PINs), credit cards, or bank cards
- do financial transactions yourself if you can and use online and phone services if you have a hard time leaving your home
- set up direct deposit for pension cheques and automatic payments from your bank account or credit card
When dealing with your property, you could:
- Ask someone you trust to look over contracts and other papers before you sign them.
- Get advice from a lawyer if you're thinking about transferring ownership of your house or property to family members. A lawyer can help you understand how doing this will affect your estate and what taxes may have to be paid.
- Make a Power of Attorney for Property.