I believe my 80 year old friend is being abused by her daughter. My friend never seems to have anything in the house to eat even though she has given her daughter complete control of her money and her daughter agreed to buy the groceries. My friend never knows what is happening with her money and just shrugs when I ask her about it, saying that she gave her daughter a power of attorney. Her daughter refuses to talk to her about it. I know my friend is very unhappy about the situation. What can I do to help her?
It helps to be supportive and talk to your friend about the situation. Ask her if she wants her daughter to continue to act under the power of attorney, or whether she would like to take it away. If she decides she wants to change the power of attorney, she can do this but she should get legal help. The law also says she has a right to ask her daughter to account for how she is managing her money. If there is evidence that her daughter is not buying enough food for her mother to live on, or evidence that she is stealing from her mother, it may be that a crime is being committed and it is an option to get the police involved. Your friend has the right to know what is going on with her money and to be involved.
If you believe your friend is no longer mentally capable of understanding her situation, and you believe she is being harmed because she does not have enough to eat, or because her money is disappearing, you may want to call the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee. The Guardianship Investigations branch of that Office has legal authority to investigate and intervene in these kinds of situations. They may be contacted at 416-327-6348 or 1-800-366-0335.
Is elder abuse a crime?
There is no specific crime of "elder abuse" but many forms of elder abuse may be a crime. The following is a list of offences under the Criminal Code which may apply if an older adult is being abused.
• Theft (s. 322)
• Theft by holding power of attorney (s. 331)
• Stopping mail with intent (s. 345)
• Extortion (s. 346)
• Forgery (s. 366)
• Fraud (s. 380)
• Assault (s. 265)
• Assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm (s. 267)
• Aggravated assault (s. 268)
• Sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm (s. 272)
• Aggravated sexual assault (s. 273)
• Forcible confinement (s. 279)
• Murder (s. 229)
• Manslaughter (s. 234)
Psychological (Emotional) Abuse
• Intimidation (s. 423)
• Uttering threats (s. 264.1)
• Harassing telephone calls (s. 372.3)
• Criminal negligence causing bodily harm or death (ss. 220-221)
• Breach of duty to provide necessities (s. 215)