Elder abuse prevention engagement

We updated how we define elder abuse so it can be better understood, recognized and prevented at the community level.


We gathered stakeholder and public input to develop a new provincial definition of elder abuse that can be applied consistently to policies and programs that address elder abuse and improve the safety and well-being of Alberta seniors. It was felt the previous definition was too broad to provide adequate direction, and it was not consistently applied across the province.

Elder abuse is a complex issue that requires a collaborative and cross-sector response. Through this work, we aimed to:

  • support a more unified government approach to prevent elder abuse
  • enable service providers to develop targeted skills and supports
  • provide clarity to responders and to affected seniors and their families


  • Open

    Survey from October 4 to 25, 2021

  • Results under review

  • Completed

    July 2022

Who is listening

Ministry of Seniors, Community and Social Services

Engagement phases

The engagement was completed in phases. The first phase clearly defined the term “elder abuse”. The second phase used the revised definition to review and update existing policies and practices, as appropriate.

  • Phase 1A: Elder abuse definition (stakeholders)

    Included discussion sessions for key stakeholders who work in elder abuse prevention, seniors supports, or family violence prevention to provide input on the updated definition of elder abuse.

    Summer 2021
  • Phase 1B: Elder abuse definition (public)

    Included a public survey for Albertans to respond to a draft revised definition based on the stakeholder engagement.

    Fall 2021
  • Phase 2: Data collection and information sharing

    Included discussion sessions for key stakeholders to provide input based on the scope of the revised definition on a standardized data collection practice.

    Winter 2021-22

Input received

Phase 1A: Elder abuse definition (stakeholders)

In June 2021, community organizations working in the areas of elder abuse prevention, family violence prevention, and seniors supports participated in discussion sessions on the definition of elder abuse as part of Phase 1A. Participants in these session expressed the following:

  • Relationship of trust was identified as being essential in the definition.
  • Self-harms should be considered separately from elder abuse.
  • Definitions for elder abuse and family violence could be aligned.
  • There are many commonalities between elder abuse and family violence, but the nuances that make elder abuse unique must continue to be considered.
  • There are situations where elder abuse can occur outside of the family, and responses to family violence and elder abuse must be responsive to the needs of each individual senior.

Phase 1B: Elder abuse definition (public)

Feedback was collected on the proposed definition of elder abuse through an online survey until October 25, 2021.

Thank you to those who participated. We received and reviewed all feedback.


The updated definition of elder abuse will be used to improve information sharing and data collection practices. A Collective Approach: Alberta’s Strategy for preventing and addressing elder abuse, a 5-year strategy to prevent and address elder abuse was released in July 2022.