Equality and Justice
For People With Disabilities

Resources for Disabled Elders in Crisis

Published on September 18, 2019

Resources for Seniors Living with Disabilities in Crisis

 Justine Wong, uOttawa Law Student, June, 2019

Do you know, or are you, a senior living with a disability who is being abused physically, emotionally, psychologically, sexually, or financially by caregivers or relatives?

Abuse happens when a senior trusts his or her caregiver to provide proper care, but the caregiver misuses that trust. Through a single act, a repeated act over time, or a failure to act, the caregiver intimidates or manipulates the senior into giving up control over his or her rights.

Seniors living with disabilities can be especially vulnerable if someone else is making decisions for them. The resources below can help to prevent or stop the abuse of elders with disabilities in Ottawa. These resources are listed under the following four categories in this order: 

(1) “non-emergency”; 

(2) “for seniors in a long-term care or retirement home”; 

(3) “if in distress and in need of immediate help”; and 

(4) “for survivors”.  


1. Non-emergency

Non-emergency resources are for seniors who are being abused but are not in immediate danger. The resources in this section provide support, counselling, information, referrals, and reporting and intake services.

(a) The Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE) is a community legal clinic that gives confidential legal advice to low-income seniors aged 60 years and older in Ontario. Elders being abused or who need help with issues related to retirement home tenancies, hospital discharge, and long-term care should call ACE. If needed, ACE may visit the elder person’s home or care facility. ACE also helps with pensions, maintaining income, mental health and capacity, and government bureaucracies.  

Toll-free number: 1-855-598-2656

Hours: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9 am to 5 pm

(b) If your matter does not fit the topics covered by ACE, try the Elder Abuse Response and Referral Service (EARRS) at 613-596-5626 ext. 230. This service is offered by the Nepean, Rideau & Osgoode Community Resource Centre. EARRS provides information, consultations, and referrals on matters of abuse. EARRS also checks eligibility for the Ottawa Seniors Respite Bed Program. Seniors who are unable to stay at their current living situation may be able to obtain temporary room and board through this program.

(c) For abused elders who need safety planning, counselling, or referrals to community services, call the Senior Safety Line (SSL). Trained counsellors are available on this 24-hour confidential line. 

Toll-free number: 1-866-299-1011 

(d) For information, crisis counselling, and resources for elder abuse victims, call the Elder Abuse Section of the Ottawa Police Victim Crisis Unit (VCU) at 613-236-1222, ext. 2223. 

(e) For advice on how to file a complaint of elder abuse to the police, call the Ottawa Police’s Elder Abuse Information Line at 613-236-1222, ext. 2400. This line also offers support, information, and resources to victims. 

(f) To report abuse anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at 613-233-TIPS (8477) or 1-800-222-8477.

2. For seniors in a long-term care or retirement home

The resources in this section cater specifically to disabled elders in crisis who are living in a long-term care or retirement home in Ontario. 

(a) For seniors with concerns about service from Long-Term Care Homes and Community Care Access Centres (CCAC), call the Long-Term Care ACTION Line. The line will first encourage you to cooperate with the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) to solve problems. If needed, an Independent Complaints Facilitator (ICF) may contact the LHIN to resolve your concerns.

Toll-free number: 1-866-876-7658

(b) For seniors being abused in a retirement home, contact the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) to file and have the RHRA investigate your complaint. If the report is about harm or risk of harm due to abuse, the RHRA must send an inspector to the retirement home. Because the RHRA regulates and licenses retirement homes on behalf of the Ontario government and keeps a public register of retirement homes in Ontario, the RHRA can provide information and referral services as well.   

Toll-free number: 1-855-275-7472 (1-855-ASK-RHRA)

Hours to report risk of harm: Monday to Friday, 8 am to 6 pm

3. If in distress and in need of immediate help

Elder abuse victims who need help right away should call the services in this section. 

(a) For confidential crisis intervention, call the 24-hour crisis line offered by the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region at 613-238-3311.

(b) For emergencies, call Ottawa Police Services at 9-1-1.

4. For survivors

This section is for elder abuse victims who have survived violent crimes and need long-term emotional support or help with accessing financial benefits and compensation. 

The Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime presents victim’s interests to all government levels. This centre also helps victims deal with the Correctional Service of Canada and the National Parole Board to obtain information about the offender who harmed them.

Toll-free number: 1-877-232-2610

Overall, seniors living with disabilities in crisis who are living in Ottawa have several important resources available to them in times of need and at various stages of need. Help Reach increase awareness of these resources to assist and protect this vulnerable population.