I’m an older adult. How can I protect myself from abuse?

2. Learn about your rights

If you're , you have the right to:

  • make your own decisions
  • choose what's best for you
  • protect and maintain your quality of life

You can choose how and where you want to live. This is true even if:

  • your family, friends, or caregivers don't agree with you, or
  • where you live puts you at risk of being hurt or getting sick.

For example, you can't be forced to move to a new home. This includes moving in with family, or into a , , or a place that offers supportive living.

Laws that protect you

In Ontario, there are specific laws that support your rights as an .

Age discrimination

Ontario's Human Rights Code protects people from being discriminated against because of their age. This type of discrimination is called .

If you think you've been discriminated against because of your age, you can contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre.

Long-term care homes

In Ontario, long-term care homes must follow a law called the Long-Term Care Homes Act. It includes a Residents’ Bill of Rights.

The purpose of the Bill of Rights is to make sure that long-term care homes are truly homes for the people who live in them.

The Bill of Rights includes the right to:

  • be treated with respect
  • have staff treat you politely and recognize your dignity and rights
  • have no one abuse you mentally or physically

If you think you're being abused or your rights are being violated, there are ways you can make a complaint.

Retirement homes

If you live in a retirement home, there's a Residents’ Bill of Rights that lists the rights of residents and the responsibilities of retirement home operators. This is based on the Retirement Homes Act.

The Bill of Rights includes the right to:

  • take part in decisions about your care
  • live in a safe and clean environment where you're treated with respect

You can make a complaint if you think your rights are not being followed or you're being abused.

Home care

If you get home care services, there's a home care Bill of Rights that protects you. It's part of the Home Care and Community Services Act.

The home care Bill of Rights lists includes the right to:

  • be treated with respect
  • be free from abuse
  • have your privacy and dignity honoured
  • take part in decisions about your care

If you have complaints about your home care services, try talking to the home care provider.

Read more about your options in I get home care and I’m being abused. What can I do?

Victims of crime

The Victims’ Bill of Rights describes how victims of crime should be treated when they're dealing with the justice system.

For example, it says that victims:

  • must be treated with courtesy, compassion, and respect
  • must have access to information about services and supports and about the progress of criminal investigations and prosecutions
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