Seniors Safety

Senior citizens are often the targets of crime due to their vulnerabilities. It is important to learn how to protect yourself or a loved one from harm.

Hamilton Police have officers and resources specifically mandated to deal with issues, concerns and challenges that affect seniors.

If you would like to speak to a Senior Support Officer or want to request a presentation, call 905-546-4925.

Elder abuse refers to harm done to an older person by a relative, friend, caregiver or anyone that the older person relies on to fulfill their basic needs.

Financial

  • Frauds, forgery, thefts or the dishonest use of a person’s money or assets.
  • Misuse of Power of Attorney or forcing someone to sign a will.
  • Overcharging or high-pressure sales of a service or a product.

Neglect

  • Failing to give someone who is dependent of what he or she needs.
  • Over / under medication dosage
  • Abandonment or leaving someone in an unsafe or isolated place.

Physical

  • Slapping, hitting, shaking, punching, or other rough handling.
  • Sexual assault or any unwanted form of sexual activity.
  • Finally forced confinement to a room, a bed or chair.

Psychological

  • Humiliating, threatening, or frightening an older or vulnerable person.
  • Not allowing an older or vulnerable person to make decisions or deliberate social isolation.
  • Ignoring the person or treating them like they are a child.

Self-Neglect

  • Inability of an older or vulnerable person to adequately take care of themselves.

Abuse can happen to any person, but certain factors can increase vulnerability. These include mental or physical impairment and/or cultural or language barriers. Abused, older or vulnerable persons are often socially isolated with few family or friends to confide in.

Anyone can be an abuser. Elder abusers usually have control or influence over the older person. In some cases they use the senior for their money or for a place to live.

  • Signs of Abuse
  • Unexplained injuries or a history of “accidents”, poor hygiene, or bed sores
  • Depression, fear, anxiety, withdrawal, or weight loss
  • Dehydration or lack of food, clothing, medicine, or other necessities of life
  • Unnecessary purchases or repairs to house property
  • Unexplained loss or misuse of property items such as banking records or wills

If you are being abused or know someone who might be a victim, please seek help from a public health nurse, social worker, doctor, lawyer or the police. Don't be afraid to report it!

Fraudsters and scam artists often target senior citizens by taking advantage of their financial situations, health needs or reliance of others to help them. When in doubt, don't do what the person tells you to do. Always look up the information yourself for confirmation. Below is a list of some of the common scams and frauds.

Seniors may be targeted over the phone or by email for good deals on health or medical items that are too good to be true.

What to do: Take the sales person or telemarketer's information, and ask your doctor for advice if you are interested in what they are offering.

This scam involves receiving a call, letter, email or text message congratulating you for winning an expensive item or trip. To collect your prize, you first have to pay a service fee, administration fee or tax.

What you should know: You can't legally win any lottery that you didn't enter. Further, no legitimate contest requires you to pay to claim the prize.

This scam involves a person offering a free inspection or asking to check your home's phone lines, gas lines etc. The person may tell you that immediate repairs are needed and ask you to pay in advance.

What to do: Avoid opening doors to strangers. Get the service person's company information for reference, look up the information yourself and then call the company to confirm the information. Most legitimate companies will call in advance to arrange an appointment.

What you should know: Companies can no longer perform door-to-door sales in Ontario, unless you initiated the company to attend your home, have a contract with them, or called them for a service repair.

If you are the Target of a Fraud or Scam

If you are the target of a scam or fraud you can call our non-emergency line at 905-546-4925 and speak to an officer. The officer will determine if a criminal fraud has taken place and how it will be investigated. Please have all the paperwork related to the fraud readily available, including the front and back of cheques, if related.

Fraudsters and scam artists often target senior citizens by taking advantage of their financial situations, health needs or reliance of others to help them. When in doubt, don't do what the person tells you to do. Always look up the information yourself for confirmation. Below is a list of some of the common scams and frauds.

Feeling safe at home and in the community is important. There are a few simple steps that you can take to make your home safe and secure.

  • Look for entry points or areas where an intruder could hide from view of your neighbours. Be sure doors, windows, garages and sheds are properly locked, even when you are at home. Upgrade windows and doors (deadbolts) as needed. Remember, chain locks are not security devices, do not depend on them.
  • Install a wide-angle peephole, at a suitable height for the homeowner, to see callers before you open the door. Never open the door to strangers without first seeing identification and verifying that identification.
  • Keep your window blinds or drapes closed after dark.
  • If you live in an apartment, before “buzzing” someone in, verify by voice or monitor that he / she is the person that you are expecting.
  • When entering or leaving the building, stop being the “nice guy” by allowing unknown persons to enter through the open door.
  • Don’t leave tell-tale signs that you are away. Have your mail and newspapers picked up by a friend or neighbour each day. Continue to keep your property maintained year-round (grass cut and snow removed).
  • Use timers to turn on lights, radios or televisions. These are especially important when you are away or on vacation to give the appearance that someone is in the home.
  • Keep valuables in a safety deposit box. Keep large amounts of money at the bank.
  • Identify, inventory and video your valuables. Criminals are less likely to steal identified goods, because it is harder to dispose of these items.
  • If a stranger arrives at your door and asks to use the phone, don’t let them inside.  Instead, offer to make the call for them while they wait outside. Never let anyone know that you are home alone.
  • Get to know your neighbours and keep their phone numbers handy for emergencies. If you arrive home and it appears that someone has entered your home, do not go inside, do not touch anything. Call the police from a neighbour’s and wait for them to arrive.
  • Regular contact between family and friends is important to all of us. Work out a “buddy system” with someone so that you can check on each other’s well-being regularly.
  • Remember to tell others when and where you are going and when you are expected to return.