Text of Presentation Slides
Adult Protective Services are located by county.
- APS services are available by county to any elder 65 or older or a dependent adult who is believed to have been a victim of abuse, neglect, exploitation regardless of income at no cost.
- Anyone may call APS to report a suspicion or concern that an elder is being abused.
- However, due to confidentiality policies and law APS cannot release results of their investigation to the caller.
- If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
Notifying Adult Protective Services
- Your call will be answered first by an APS rep who will ask for your name and phone number, information on the situation and either put you through to an intake worker or state you will receive a return phone call ASAP. Usually, the case is evaluated for the elder being at high risk and assigned to a social worker. You may receive an immediate call back or a notification stating that the case will not move forward.
- APS investigates high risk reports first by discussing with you over the phone: your observations and concerns, next they assign the case to a worker who will investigate the matter.
- The investigation usually begins with a visit to the victim and a request for an interview.
- The first goal is to determine if a crime has been committed and the status of the elder involved: are they lacking capacity, dependent and or disabled.
Types of Elder Abuse
- Financial: theft, misuse of funds, extortion, duress, fraud, on-line scams.
- Self-Neglect: failure to thrive includes not eating, sleeping, lack of shelter. Failure to seek medical and mental health help when needed. Symptoms include weight loss, poor hygiene, confusion.
- Neglect: Responsible parties fail to provide for housing, food, access to health care, social contacts when the means are available.
- Emotional and Mental Suffering: Verbal assaults, threats, actions and words cause elder to become fearful, feel threatened.
- Abandonment: willful forsaking by anyone having responsibility for care.
- Isolation: preventing individual from seeing family, friends, receiving mail, phone calls, visitors and contact with others.
- Sexual Abuse: Unwanted sexual contact, sexual exploitation, forced viewing of pornography. Elder refuses, is confused and or lacking capacity.
Elder Abuse: High Risk Situations
- Elder abuse tends to happen when we are without close family or friends checking on us and for all intents become socially isolated.
- Often, victims are frail, in poor health and experiencing both cognitive and physical decline. Dependent elders seek out help from strangers.
- And perpetrators seek frail elders- for access to monetary gifts, housing, the elder’s private financial, legal and health records, documents and thus seek to obtain decision-making capacity.
- Or there is history of abuse within the family system: not resolved and a chronic pattern.
Warning Signs of Abuse or Increased Risk of Abuse
- Person appears hurt, sore, injured in pain, or stressed and does not give a report coherent with the signs of injury and stress.
- Recent changes in behavior, elder more confused and disoriented.
- The responsible party or caregiver is agitated, angry, indifferent, aggressive toward the elder or dependent adult.
- Personal belongings of the elder disappear and cannot be located: such as credit cards, bank account records and other critical documents. Car and or computer is missing.
- Elder reluctant to talk and appears hesitate to talk openly.
- Lack of necessities in the home such as food, water, medications, utilities, clean clothes, house messy, dirty, utilities turned off.
- Caregiver has a history of substance abuse, drugs and alcohol use, mental illness, criminal behavior or family violence.
- Elders avoid certain familiar friends, relatives and appear fearful when they are near.
APS Investigation Process
- The elder will be given options to protect themselves from further harm.
- The APS worker can link the client, family to needed community resources.
- Unaware family and friends might be alerted to step in to help protect the elder once the investigation locates supportive helpers.
- In some cases, the perpetrator of the abuse can be prosecuted immediately and or separated from the elder.
- Due to confidentiality laws, APS staff cannot provide any information to the person reporting the abuse the results of the investigation.
- APS may call the police if needed to break into a home and help a hurt, injured, confused elder find safety.
- Usually, APS and the police may take a victim of abuse to a local ER.
- If the elder is without any family, friends and is deemed lacking capacity the social work staff and medical staff may petition the County Office on Aging to begin a guardian assignment procedure.
- The person might remain hospitalized until a safe placement is arranged by a legal authority.
Signs of Financial Abuse
- Strangers suddenly appear in elder’s life and try to take over their day
- to day activities.
- Income or assets disappear.
- Overcharges or unexplained fees on accounts.
- Sudden changes in financial management that enrich specific individuals: can be “new” friends, hired caregivers, relatives and or distant family.
Protecting Yourself from Scams
- Scammers, or con artists, try to trick you into giving up your Social Security number and other significant personal data, codes, family information.
- Common deceptive practices: you receive an on-line message or a recorded phone message that you have a criminal lien placed against you. Then you are asked to call a number or return the email. And then asked for information.
- Do not respond to these messages. Do not give out any information.
- These calls and messages come from all over the world and not from the emails or area codes you see on your phone.
Where to Report Financial Scams
- Check with the Social Security Administration regarding these matters.
- Warnings are posted at https://oig.ssa.gov/scams-involving- impersonation-ssa-employee.
- Or call 1 800 772 1213 to report the call and ask for guidance.
- You can report the call to these fraud hotlines at 1 800 269 0271 or 1 866 501 2101.
- You can also check in your county Consumer Affairs office.