Terminology

In this section, the accepted French-language vocabulary concerning the actions to counter mistreatment that is presented is the result of the work done by a committee on terminology and included the following:

  • Leading Practice to Counter the Mistreatment of Older Adults, CIUSSS West-Central Montreal
  • Elder Mistreatment Helpline (LAAA)
  • Research Chair on Mistreatment of Older Adults
  • Secrétariat aux aînés, (Two regional coordinators specialized in countering mistreatment)

The committee’s objective was to improve and clarify French-language terminology concerning the mistreatment of older adults and in doing so, reach a consensus and represent the evolution of practical and scientific knowledge gained since the implementation of the Quebec Government’s Action Plan to Counter the Mistreatment of Older Adults (2010). Over the years, this lexicon will be adjusted with the development of new clinical and scientific knowledge. The same work is being done with English-language terminology.

We are very pleased to make this work accessible through our website. Please note that this terminology will also be disseminated to all of our working partners.

 

To correctly quote our work presented below, we recommend using the following reference associated with our copyrights:

  • Leading Practice to Counter the Mistreatment of Older Adults, CIUSSS West-Central Montreal; Elder Mistreatment Helpline (LAAA); Research Chair on Mistreatment of Older Adults; Ministère de la Famille, Secrétariat aux aînés, Gouvernement du Québec, 2017. Terminology on the mistreatment of older adults. Find at https://maltraitancedesaines.com/en/terminology

© Leading Practice to Counter the Mistreatment of Older Adults, CIUSSS West-Central Montreal; Elder Mistreatment Helpline (LAAA); Research Chair on Mistreatment of Older Adults; Ministère de la Famille, Secrétariat aux aînés, Gouvernement du Québec, 2017.

 

Download the most recent version of Terminology on the mistreatment of older adults in PDF format

** As a result of the evolution of terminology, it is possible that older versions are still in circulation in various sectors. Please take note of the document’s release date located in the upper right-hand corner. Furthermore, certain practical environments may have adopted terminology specific to their reality. Also, please respect our copyrights (©) situated at the end of our documents.

Definition of the mistreatment of older adults

“Mistreatment is a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older adult, whether the person deliberately wants to cause harm or not.”

(inspired by the WHO (2002) The Toronto Declaration on the Global Prevention of Elder Abuse; the notion of “intentionality” was not part of the original definition)

 

FORMS OF MISTREATMENT (MANIFESTATIONS)

Violence: Poor treatment of an older adult, or making the older adult act against his or her will, through the use of force and/or bullying*.

Neglect: Failure to show concern for the older adult, particularly by not taking appropriate action to meet his or her needs.

* “Bullying of older adults is an act, or the absence of action, of a single or repetitive nature that is generally deliberate and is committed directly or indirectly within a relationship of force, power or control between individuals, which is motivated by the intent to cause harm to one, or more, older adults.” (See Beaulieu, M., Bédard, M.-È. & Leboeuf, R. (2016). L’intimidation envers les personnes aînées : un problème social connexe à la maltraitance? Revue Service social. 62(1), 38-56.)

INTENTION BEHIND MISTREATMENT

Intentional mistreatment:  The person deliberately causes harm to the older adult.

Unintentional mistreatment: The person does not want to cause harm or does not understand the harm being caused.

NB: It is important to assess the signs and situation to avoid drawing hasty conclusions or labelling people.

Discrimination based on age, through hostile or negative attitudes, harmful actions or social exclusion.
Any discriminating situation created or tolerated by organizational procedure (private, public or community institutions providing all types of care and services), which compromise older adults’ ability to exercise their rights and freedoms.
Illegal, unauthorized or dishonest acquisition or use of the older adult’s property or legal documents; lack of information or misinformation regarding financial or legal matters.
Non-consensual gestures, actions, words or attitudes with a sexual connotation, which are harmful to the person’s well-being, sexual integrity, sexual orientation, or gender identity.