We’re gathering 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’s felt the current definition is too broad to provide adequate direction, and it is not consistently applied across the province.

Elder abuse is a complex issue that requires a collaborative and cross-sector response. Through this work, we aim 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 open October 4 to 25, 2021

  • Results under review

  • Completed

Who is listening

Ministry of Seniors and Housing

Engagement phases

The engagement will be completed in phases. The first phase is to clearly define the term “elder abuse”. The second phase will use the revised definition to review and update existing policies and practices, as appropriate.

  • Phase 1A: Elder abuse definition (stakeholders)

    Includes 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)

    Includes 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

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

    Winter 2022

Get informed

Prior to 2020, nearly one in 10 Alberta seniors experienced financial, emotional, physical, and other forms of abuse. The pandemic has also highlighted the need for a more comprehensive response.

Get involved

Public engagement

Share your feedback on the proposed definition of elder abuse through an online survey by October 25, 2021.

Current definition

  • Elder abuse is any action or inaction, by self or others, which jeopardizes the health and well-being of an older adult.

Proposed definition

  • Elder abuse is any intentional or reckless act or wilful and negligent disregard, occurring within a relationship of family, trust or dependency, directed at someone 65 years of age or older that:
    • causes physical, emotional or psychological harm
    • involves the misappropriation or misuse of money or other personal possessions or personal or real property
    • subjects an individual to non-consensual sexual contact, activity or behaviour
    • fails to provide the necessities of life

Take the survey

Progress updates

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 were invited to participate 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


The updated definition of elder abuse will be used to improve information sharing and data collection practices.



Connect with the Elder Abuse Prevention Engagement & Legislation Working Group at [email protected].

Last updated: October 4, 2021