Elder abuse is reproachable and detestable; unfortunately, there are relatively few laws or resources that protect and assist elders in Ontario. Learn about the laws that may help protect seniors and where you can turn if you suspect your loved one is being abused in a nursing home.
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The Prevalence of Elder Abuse
A 1993 study published in the Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect involving elders in London, Ontario found that approximately 32 percent of senior citizens experienced some form of physical, verbal and material abuse, and more than 16 percent were victims of intentional or unintentional neglect.
The Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (ONPEA) reports that between 32,000 and 160,000 older Ontarians may be abused in some manner by someone whom they trust, such as their nursing home attendants or caretakers.
Currently, there are approximately 1.6 million people aged 65 and older residing in Ontario, and the senior population is expected to grow to more than 3 million by 2025, reports ONPEA. If this happens, seniors then will comprise one-fifth of the Ontario total population. “If we don’t work together to take action today, elder abuse and neglect is going to grow just as quickly as our aging population itself,” cautions the ONPEA.
Elders’ Rights in Ontario
If elder abuse is suspected in a nursing home, home for the aged or charitable home for the aged, the law mandates that the incident be reported to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. There are several pieces of legislation that may be applicable to elders’ rights, including the following:
- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
- Family Law Act;
- Mental Health Act;
- Long Term Care Act;
- Home Care and Community Services Act;
- Nursing Homes Act;
- Homes for the Aged and Rest Homes Act;
- Residents Bill of Rights;
- Tenant Protection Act;
- Business Practices Act; and
- Consumer Protection Act.
These laws may or may not be applicable to your loved one’s particular situation. It’s important to note that if your loved one was harmed in a nursing home as the result of abuse or neglect, a claim for restitution may be applicable. Speak with a nursing home injury attorney to determine how to take legal action.
Helpful Resources for Elder Abuse Victims
There are a few resources that you may find helpful if your loved one is being abused or neglected.
- Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat;
- Retirement Home Complaints Response and Information Service (CRIS);
- Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse;
- National Clearinghouse on Family Violence;
- Advocacy Centre for the Elderly;
- Ontario Provincial Police (1-888-310-1122);
- Ministry of the Attorney General’s Victim Support Line (1-888-579-2888);l
- Ontario Association of Community Care Access Centre; and
- Long-Term Care ACTION Line (1-866-434-0144).
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Preszler Law Handles Nursing Home Abuse Cases in Ontario
If your loved one has been abused and injured in a nursing home, Preszler Law can help. Contact our injury firm for a free legal consultation, and let’s determine how we may be of service to you. Contact us today at 1-800-JUSTICE®.