Mistreatment – Well-Treatment

Recognizing mistreatment

Mistreatment is an attitude, word or act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within a relationship with a person, community or institution where there is an expectation of trust, which, whether deliberately or not, causes harm or distress to an older adult.

A senior who is humiliated, treated as a child, bullied, or not provided the care needed for his/her well-being is the victim of mistreatment. A person who is being robbed of money or being pressured to leave an inheritance is also the victim of mistreatment.

Senior mistreatment can take many forms:

For more information.

Reporting mistreatment

Do you think you are being mistreated or are you concerned about someone in a vulnerable situation around you? There is help. Overlooked far too often, the phenomenon of mistreatment must be placed in the spotlight to take action and limit its scope.

Please complete the reporting form and email it to the Commissioner of Complaints and Service Quality at commissairesauxplaintes@ssss.gouv.qc.ca.

Please use the link and refer to this form only.

Supporting someone who is being mistreated

Offer your time and listen, without judgment, to the person being mistreated. Offer to accompany him/her in this process if he/she wishes it.

Advise the person that there are resources (link to section) and that he/she can access them in a completely confidential manner.

It is normal for a person who is being mistreated to feel sad, angry, afraid, humiliated or have dark ideas. Be understanding and be present for him/her.

Do not hesitate to call 911 if the person is in danger.

Promoting well-treatment

As defined in the Government action plan to combat the mistreatment of seniors 2017-2022:

Well-treatment is an approach that values respect for everyone and their needs, requests and choices, including refusals. It is expressed through attention and attitudes, collaborative interpersonal skills and expertise that respect people’s values, culture, beliefs, life path, and personal rights and freedoms. It is exercised by individuals, organizations or communities who, through their actions, place the well-being of individuals at the centre of their concerns. It is built through interactions and an ongoing search for adaptation to the other person and his/her environment.

Six guiding principles promoting well-treatment:

  1. Putting the senior at the centre of our actions: the senior decides whether the action taken or suggested is best for him/her, if it is well-treatment;
  2. Promoting the senior’s self-determination and power to act so that the individual can take charge of his/her life path, make choices consistent with his/her values, lifestyle, culture, and so on;
  3. Respecting the person and his/her dignity so that he/she feels considered and his/her self-esteem is increased;
  4. Promoting inclusion and social participation to support the wellbeing of seniors who want to break their isolation and contribute to society;
  5. Taking actions and interventions that combine competence (expertise) and judgement (interpersonal skills);
  6. Obtaining concerted support to take the most appropriate actions for all aspects of the person’s life (e.g., housing, health, food, love life and family life, etc.), while respecting that person’s choice.

For more information

Terms of reference – Promoting the well-treatment of all seniors, in all environments and in all situations (gouv.qc.ca) (in French only)


Senior Mistreatment Help Line - 1-888-489-2287

The provincial crisis and referral help line for senior mistreatment. Services are anonymous, confidential and free of charge, seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.