I’m an older adult. How do I know I’m being abused?

2. Tell someone about the abuse

Think about who you can talk to about the abuse. It's important to know that help is available. Speak to someone you trust about your options and where you can get support.

Emergencies

If someone is hurting or threatening you, you don't feel safe, or you're in danger, contact the police by calling 911.

Reasons to tell someone about the abuse

Being abused can cause stress and harm to your health and well-being. It can make you afraid, anxious, and depressed. And the abuse can often get worse as time goes on.

It can be hard to tell someone about the abuse. You might be afraid:

  • of what your abuser will do to you if you report the abuse
  • that your abuser may stop you from getting things you need like housing, clothing, medication, or health care
  • of being moved to a or when you don't want to
  • of changing your relationship with the abuser and their family

But telling someone about the abuse might:

  • be the only way to stop it
  • get you to a safe place
  • let you get control back so you can make your own decisions
  • protect other people from being abused

Talking to people will help you learn more about the supports and resources in your community.

Think about who you trust to talk to about the abuse. This could be a friend, doctor, nurse, lawyer, social worker, counsellor, or religious leader.

Who you talk to

Before you talk to someone, you might want to ask if they'll be able to keep your information private.

In some situations, health-care professionals might not be able to keep your information private. This is because they have to report whenever they suspect or find out about abuse. For example, they may have to report abuse when there's a serious risk that someone will be harmed, or when the law says that they have to report it.

The law also says people must report abuse, without you agreeing, if you live in a licensed retirement home or long-term care home.

Read more about ways to protect yourself in I’m an older adult. How can I protect myself from abuse?

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