Adult Protective Services (APS) agencies help elder adults (ages 60 or above) and dependent adults (18-59 who are disabled), when these adults are unable to meet their own needs, or are victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
Elder abuse can affect people of all ethnic backgrounds and social statuses and can affect both men and women. The following types of abuse are commonly accepted as the major categories of elder mistreatment:
- Physical abuse – Inflicting or threatening to inflict, physical pain or injury on a vulnerable elder, or depriving them of a basic need.
- Sexual Abuse – Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind or coercing an elder to witness sexual behaviors.
- Abandonment – The desertion of a vulnerable elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person.
- Isolation – Preventing the individual one cares for from receiving mail, telephone calls, or visitors.
- Financial exploitation – illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder.
- Neglect – Refusal or failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care, or protection for a vulnerable elder.
- Self-neglect – Failure to provide the basic care or services necessary to maintain the health and safety of an adult; this failure can be active or passive.
- Mental & Emotional Abuse – Inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts.
There are some possible warning signs that abuse might be occurring to an older or disabled adult or that the individual is at increased risk for abuse. If you observe some of these occurring, consider alerting APS:
- Explanation for an injury is inconsistent with its possible cause.
- Recent changes in the elder or dependent adult’s thinking, seems confused or disoriented.
- Personal belongings, papers, or credit cards are missing.
- The elder appears hesitant to talk openly.
- Lack of necessities, such as food, water, utilities, medications, and medical care.
- Another person’s name added to the client’s bank account or important documents, or frequent checks made out to cash.
If you are in immediate danger, please contact 9-1-1
If you want to report elder abuse or dependent adult abuse in the community contact Adult Protective Services at 1-800-510-2020 or visit our county’s website for further instructions and information on reporting.