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‘It’s really gotten worse’

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The pandemic has spawned a host of problems — to say the least.

Yet it also has exacerbated an ongoing problem in Canada, affecting some of our most vulnerable citizens: seniors.

That’s not just because the virus often poses a greater danger to their health than younger individuals.

The pandemic has also sparked a sharp rise in elder abuse, including financial abuse, as many older Canadians have spent the past several months more isolated and often forced to carry out their financial lives in unfamiliar territory — the online world.

That’s made some seniors more susceptible to predatory behaviour by fraudsters and even the people closest to them, like adult children, experts say.

“It’s really gotten worse,” says lawyer Laura Tamblyn Watts, president and CEO of CanAge, a non-profit advancing the rights and well being of Canadians as they age.

“Pre-COVID-19, one in six seniors were subject to elder abuse or neglect, and since COVID-19, there is strong evidence that there has been an increase of about 250 per cent.”

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246 Bloor Street W
Toronto, ON, M5S 1V4

Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work
University of Toronto

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