Elder Abuse in BC

  • Recorded on: June 4, 2024

  • Length: 60 minutes


Lawyers Krista James and Kevin Smith answer common questions about abuse of older adults in British Columbia.


In this webinar, you will learn:

  • What is considered elder abuse. [2:55]

Financial elder abuse

  • Common ways older adults experience financial abuse. [5:50]

  • What an older adult can do if they lend money to their adult child and the child describes the loan as an “early inheritance” and refuses to repay it. [7:35]

  • Factors that an older adult should consider before making their adult child a joint owner of their home in exchange for being looked after as their health declines. [12:00]

  • What the child of an older adult can do if a sibling has been given power of attorney over their parent’s property and the sibling uses the parent’s savings to buy themself appliances and furniture. [16:10]

Other forms of abuse and neglect

  • What to do if you suspect that an older adult who lives with one of their adult children is being abused. [19:40]

  • How to know if an older adult who has Alzheimer’s and lives in a care home is being neglected. [25:20]

  • What red flags to look for if you suspect that an older adult is being physically abused by their spouse. [31:20]

Preventing elder abuse

  • Common signs of abuse, including financial abuse. [34:40]

  • Tips to help an older adult avoid abuse, financial and otherwise. [37:50]

Dealing with elder abuse

  • Steps that an older adult (or someone helping them) can take if they’re being abused. [41:45]

  • Resources available to help older adults. [46:25]

Live questions

  • What to do if an older adult has a son living in their basement who won’t move out or pay rent. [48:40]

  • Whether designated agencies are required to investigate suspected financial abuse or just concerns about physical abuse. [50:40]

  • Factors that may be in play if a person encourages an older adult to consider medical assistance in dying (MAiD) simply because they are elderly. [51:40]

  • Factors to consider if an adult child promises not to put a parent in a care home but wants to be compensated financially. [53:20]

  • Whether it is abuse if an adult child, who is their mother’s attorney and representative, recovers out of pocket expenses, like transportation and therapy costs, from their mother. [56:40]


Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith is a retired lawyer, having worked for several years with Seniors First BC in Vancouver. A graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, he has an LLM in elder law from the Center for Excellence in Elder Law at Stetson University. Prior to joining Seniors First BC, he worked as a legal aid lawyer in Ontario for 30 years, including as the clinic director of Parkdale Community Legal Services. His work with Seniors First BC focused on elder abuse, including financial abuse and financial exploitation. It also included capacity issues, issues in seniors housing and residential care, and pension appeals.

Krista James

Krista James

Krista James is a lawyer, writer, feminist, and community organizer. She is currently Policy Director and Senior Legal Counsel for Vancouver Coastal Health. Krista was a staff lawyer with the BC Law Institute for 15 years, including 11 years as National Director of the Canadian Centre for Elder Law. Krista was called to the BC bar in 1998 after articling with the Legal Services Society (now Legal Aid BC). She has practiced labour and human rights law, and written and presented extensively on health law, elder law, and elder abuse.

Attendee feedback

“Excellent use of plain language and explanations.” 

“Speakers were great. Tone and pace appreciated. Not too fast.”

“It was very informative. This info is much needed.”

“It was an excellent presentation that gave me much useful information as an older adult looking into the future.”

“I wish I knew this information before. It would have been very helpful in addressing my sister's situation. She has since passed away but was being abused by a so-called friend.”

“Kudos to the host!! I've attended a few of these People's Law webinars and they are very well organized.”

“Thank you for sharing this valuable content.”

“I am a victim services support worker. I often have phone calls from adult children or neighbours of an elderly person, asking for advice/resources/reporting abuse. This webinar provided me with many more resources. I really appreciate the time put into putting this webinar together. The situations provided are very realistic.”

“Keep up the great work — knowledge is power!”

Additional resources

From People’s Law School:

From the Canadian Centre for Elder Law:

From Seniors First BC


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This website explains in a general way the law that applies in British Columbia, Canada. The information is not intended as legal advice. The cases we refer to reflect real experiences, but names have been changed. See our full disclaimer.

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