Senior Safety

Social Isolation of Seniors

Humans are social beings — designed to thrive in collaborative networks and communities. When we feel connected to others in meaningful ways we experience significant benefits to both our physical and emotional well being. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, many people aren’t able to maintain a healthy level of social inclusion, and may experience the harmful consequences of becoming isolated.

Social isolation is defined as a state of complete or near-complete lack of contact between an individual and society. Isolation can be an issue for people of any age, the impact of becoming socially isolated can be more detrimental to our well being.

The Toronto Police Service and the Senior Community Consultative Committee have made available this downloadable booklet and the following resources to help explore the experience of social isolation as it relates to older adults, with the goal of assisting communities in recognizing those at risk and to be better equip individuals to help out.


Downloadable Resources

Social Isolation of Seniors (PDF)
Senior Safety (PDF)
Senior Safety & Elder Abuse (PDF)
Frauds & Scams Against Seniors (PDF)

Community Resources

Toronto Seniors Helpline
(416) 217-2077
The Toronto Senior’s Helpline is one phone number that serves as a single point of access for a multitude of services for Seniors in varying levels of crisis and provides access to services across a broad spectrum. Calls can be placed directly by the Senior themselves, or by anyone in the community who is concerned about a Senior’s well being. You don’t need the person’s consent to make the initial call, and you don’t need to know specifically what type of support they need. You need only feel that the Senior is living in an undesirable situation, and feel that they may benefit from some level of intervention. This is a Toronto-wide service, and interpreters in 100+ languages are available. this is not a 24-hour service, but missed calls will be returned.

Seniors Safety Line
1 (866) 299-1011
The Senior’s Safety Line is a province-wide service that provides information and resources, in over 150 languages, for Seniors experiencing abuse. It is a 24/7, confidential line, staffed with trained counsellors who can provide safety planning and supportive counselling for older adults. Family members and service providers can also call for information about community services.

Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE)
(416) 598-2656
The Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE) provides direct legal services to low-income Seniors. They are a community-based, legal aid clinic, who specialize in areas of law most relevant to the Senior population. They very much prefer to speak directly with the Senior, as opposed to those with third-party concerns. As such, this should be considered a resource that one might suggest to a Senior.

The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (OPGT)
1 (800) 366-0335
Guardianship Investigations Unit
(416) 327-6348
The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (OPGT) will conduct an investigation when it receives information that an individual may be mentally incapable and at risk of suffering serious financial or personal harm. This is not an immediate, emergency crisis response service. An investigation may result in the OPGT asking the court for authority to make decisions on the person’s behalf on a temporary basis. Anyone with concerns may call, but keep in mind that the OPGT should be considered a “last resort” intervention after other options have been exhausted.

Toronto Police Service
EMERGENCY, DIAL 9-1-1
Non-emergency – (416) 808-2222
There are a number of ways the police might be able to help someone who is isolated; if a person is a victim of elder abuse, if there are concerns of neglect or self-neglect, or of a Senior’s ability to safely care for themselves. Police officers also have an important function as connectors to services and can make referrals to community supports on behalf of those in need who would never, or could never, ask for help themselves.

Toronto Crime Stoppers
(416) 222-TIPS (8477)
Crime Stoppers enables concerned members of the public to anonymously provide police with information about crime or potential crime. Callers are never required to give their names or testify in court.

Legal Aid Ontario
1 (800) 668-8258
The mandate of Legal Aid Ontario is to promote access to justice throughout Ontario for low-income individuals by means of providing consistently high-quality legal aid services in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

JusticeNet
1 (866) 919-3219
JusticeNet is a not-for-profit service helping people in need of legal expertise, whose income is too high to access legal aid and too low to afford standard legal fees.

Assaulted Women’s Helpline
1 (888) 495-8501
For over 30 years, the Assaulted Women’s Helpline has served as a free, anonymous and confidential 24-hour telephone and TTY crisis telephone line to all women in the province of Ontario who have experienced any form of abuse.

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC)
1 (888) 495-8501
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is the central agency in Canada that collects information and criminal intelligence on such matters as mass marketing fraud (e.g., telemarketing), advance fee fraud (e.g., West African letters), Internet fraud and identification theft complaints.

Consumer Protection Ontario
1 (800) 889-9768
Consumer Protection Ontario is an awareness program from Ontario’s Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and other public organizations, known as administrative authorities, that promote consumer rights and public safety. The ministry and these administrative authorities enforce a number of Ontario’s consumer protection and public safety laws, investigate alleged violations and handle complaints.