The United Nations has declared June 15 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
According to the Nova Scotia Department of Seniors, it's estimated that 1 in 6 older adults worldwide experience elder abuse, often by someone they know and trust.
However a spokesperson with the Canadian Association for Retired Persons (CARP) believes it's closer to 1 in 5.
"It's not just physical abuse," says Bill VanGorder. "It includes mental abuse and it also includes financial abuse."
He tells NEWS 95.7's The Sheldon MacLeod Show elder abuse has become so commonplace, it's almost been normalized.
"We're almost getting used to reading in the paper, everything from older adults being forced to be separated in their older years ...to the more basic kinds of abuses in long-term care facilities."
He'd like to see more supports put in place for those being abused, along with education for caretakers, who he says may not even know they are being abusive.
The RCMP say the following are signs someone could be being abused or neglected:
- Shows signs of depression or anxiety;
- Seems fearful around certain people;
- Becomes socially withdrawn (less contact with people who they have been close to in the past);
- Becomes passive and very compliant;
- Has unexplained physical injuries (i.e. bruises, broken bones);
- Lacks food, clothing and other necessities;
- Shows changes in their hygiene or nutrition (e.g. signs of malnutrition);
- Suddenly becomes unable to meet financial obligations; and
- Has an unusual withdrawal from their bank or other financial institutions.
If you know someone who may be a victim of elder abuse, contact your local police or RCMP.