Family Violence Initiative

Elder abuse

Esha says nothing, as her daughter starts yelling at her. She wonders why Anila treats her this way so often. What happened to her daughter's love and sense of respect? Esha's back begins to ache; she has the breakfast clutter and the entire house to clean. And now her daughter, Anila, wants her to cook dinner for the children tonight. She longs to say no: she can already see them scowling at the traditional dishes she likes to make.

She was very happy at first to come to Canada. But now she wishes there was still a place for her back home. Her son-in-law, Chanda, is impatient with her country ways. And her daughter blows back and forth like the wind; sometimes her comments are just as cruel.

Esha rarely goes out; she feels unsure of her English. She'd like to go to the Indo-Canadian centre again, but she knows Anila doesn't want to take her. She feels stronger chatting with women her own age. They tell her that her children ask too much from her. Her daughter says they should mind their own business. Esha thinks she will ask her friend Sakina to come with her to talk to the social worker at the centre if she goes.

What does it look like?

Sometimes people who take care of older people (for example, their parents, grandparents, older in-laws) can be abusive. Abuse is always wrong.

If you are an older person and are being abused, you might be dependent on the person who is abusing you. You might feel as though you should protect that person. You might feel ashamed that the person you love or whom you have trusted is hurting you. You can love a person and not like the way they are treating you. The person who is abusing you might be dealing with a lot of stress, but they should get help for their problems. They should not take it out on you.

You deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. If you think you are being abused, you should ask for help. Call someone you trust and tell them what is happening. Or, ask to speak with your doctor alone in confidence, and tell them what is happening. You may also wish to read another booklet in this series called "Elder Abuse is Wrong".

Date modified: