A North Vancouver community is in shock, after a man broke into the home of an 87-year-old woman and sexually assaulted her early Sunday morning.​

The woman, who has not been named, lives alone in the Ridgeway Avenue area of the North Shore and was attacked after she awoke to find the man in her bedroom.

She is recovering in hospital. Her son, who cannot be named to protect her identity, says she is shaken, bruised and battered.

Physically, he says, she's likely to pull through but emotionally will be difficult. He says she never expected anything like this would happen in the house where she's lived for over 60 years. 

North Vancouver RCMP Cpl. Richard De Jong says police do not know whether the attack was targeted or random.

"We're not disclosing the exact nature of the assault. It was a sexual assault — a very serious one."

De Jong said many of the details surrounding the incident remain unclear and police know very little about the attacker.

"We have our crime analysts working diligently right now to comply this file in comparison to other ones across Canada that could have a similar M.O. with someone of similar behaviours so that we can perhaps profile this individual."

Cheryl McBride - North Shore Neighbourhood House

Cheryl McBride with North Shore Neighbourhood House says residents are concerned. (CBC)

The incident has prompted the local seniors centre to invite police to come and talk about home safety.

Cheryl McBride with North Shore Neighbourhood House says residents are concerned.

"You have to be careful. You have to think about that in the evening. Lock your doors, make sure they're locked, check before you go to bed."

The woman is well-liked in the community. A neighbour, identifying herself only as Winifred, says she is shocked by what happened.

"Well, I certainly would like to know what happened and how the criminal got in her house."

Fellow neighbour Sharon says the attack has left her scared.

"I don't know what went through the guy's head or what, you know. I just can't believe it."

The woman's family says it appears nothing was stolen from her home in the attack.

Police are urging residents to make sure they keep their homes secure and lock all windows and doors.