COVID-19: Get updates on the law and legal services on Steps to Justice

Change font size:


  • Increase
  • Decrease
  • Normal

Current Zoom: 100%

Elder abuse: The hidden crime

Step 1: Choose language Step 2: Choose from available formats and options
Available formats and options

What can people do to protect themselves?

There are several things that older adults can do to protect themselves from abuse. Here are some examples.


  • control and monitor their bank accounts
  • understand all documents before signing them, never sign under pressure, and get legal advice if necessary
  • be careful who they give their banking and financial information to, including credit and debit card numbers and passwords
  • replace any credit or debit cards that an abuser might be able to use
  • do not open joint bank accounts unless they want the other person to also have ownership of the money in the account
  • set up automatic payments and deposits, for example, for bills and pension cheques


  • think carefully before having someone move in or before moving in with someone
  • change the locks if someone who is or was abusive has a key to their place
  • have their own phone or another way to communicate, like email, and open their own mail

Planning ahead

  • plan for the future while they are still mentally capable, including preparing a will and deciding about Powers of Attorney
  • be careful when choosing someone to give a Power of Attorney to, make sure they trust them, and know that they will respect their wishes
  • maintain relationships with family, friends, and support networks, including groups in the community
  • make a plan for care they might need in the future, and do not rely only on family members to be their caregivers