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Adult Protective Services

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Adult Protective Services

Aging is a natural process.  Abuse is not.  Look for the signs of abuse and report it.

Adult Protective Services Specialists help to protect vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect and exploitation. They help end abuse by matching the needs of the person, with community partners in their area. Partners like mental health, public health, law enforcement, the courts, the aging network, community groups and the public.

What should I do if I suspect something?

  • If you suspect harm is occurring right now, call 911.
  • or, you can call 1-800-551-3191 to find your area APS office or the Ombudsman if the person lives in a nursing and/or assisted living facility. (Note: These offices are only available during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm, except on holidays. For all emergencies, call 911.)
  • If you would like a brochure to explain what Adult Protective Services is, you can view and print the online brochure or contact any office for a copy.

Who is a vulnerable adult?

Adult Protective Services can help:

  • people who are age 60 or older
  • or if the person has a disability, age 18 and older
  • and who are being abused, neglected or exploited

Anyone who meets these criteria can request help. You don't have to be frail or have failing health to talk with an APS Specialist.

If the concern is not life threatening, you can contact us online, or call 1-800-551-3191 to find your area APS office or the Ombudsmen if the person lives in a nursing and/or assisted living facility. (Note: These offices are only available during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm, except on holidays. For all emergencies, call 911.)

What does Adult Protective Services (APS) consider abuse, neglect or exploitation?

Neglect is the most common form of abuse. APS receives more calls about self neglect than any other type of abuse.  Neglect is failing to act to remove someone or yourself from harms way of any kind of threat to health or safety.

Exploitation is the misuse of funds or property by another person. Examples include stealing a person's identity to get credit, stealing property to use or sell, or using a person's private history or medical condition for personal gain.

Abuse is a threat to a persons health or safety caused by another person and in most cases most people are abused in more than one way.

  • Physical abuse is pain or injury to a person.
  • Emotional abuse is yelling at or threatening a person. An abuser can also harass or intimidate a person into doing something they have the right not to do, or prevent them from doing something they have the right to do.
  • Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual comments or actions.  It can also be making sexual comments or actions to a person when they are not able to understand what is happening.

What are some of the warning signs I should look for?

Does a senior or adult with a disability that you know display any warning signs of mistreatment?

Neglect

  • Lack of basic hygiene
  • Lack of adequate food
  • Lack of medical aids (glasses, walker, teeth, hearing aid, medications)
  • Lack of clean appropriate clothing
  • Person with dementia left unsupervised
  • Bed bound person left without care
  • Home cluttered, filthy, in disrepair, or having fire & safety hazards
  • Home without adequate facilities (stove, refrigerator, heat, cooling, working plumbing, and electricity)
  • Untreated pressure "bed" sores

Financial Abuse

  • Lack of amenities victim could afford
  • Elder "voluntarily" giving inappropriate financial reimbursement for needed care and companionship
  • Caregiver has control of elder’s money but is failing to provide for elder’s needs
  • Caretaker "living off" elder
  • Elder has signed property transfers (Power of Attorney, new will, etc.) when unable to comprehend the transaction

Psychological Abuse

  • Caregiver isolates elder (doesn’t let anyone into the home or speak to the elder)
  • Caregiver is verbally aggressive or demeaning, controlling, overly concerned about spending money, or uncaring

Physical Abuse

  • Inadequately explained fractures, bruises, welts, cuts, sores or burns

What can APS do for someone who is being harmed?

In addition to doing an investigation, APS investigators work with your community partners who may help those being abused with short-term assistance such as:

  • a place to live, or stay, or home repairs
  • food, transportation or help with utilities
  • managing money or legal help
  • medical care, home healthcare or mental health services
(note, services and assistance vary for each community)

 

The person being abused has the right to accept or decline services.  Any or all services and help may be refused. If you are being abused, it's your right to decide what is right for you.  If the court has determined someone else is making decisions for you, that person can accept or refuse services for you.

The Adult Protective Services (APS) program is based on this value. No decision is made without your involvement and consent. Every effort is made to keep you in your home.

I am being harmed. How do I let someone know?

If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

If the concern is not life threatening, you can contact APS online, or call 1-800-551-3191 to find your area APS office or the Ombudsmen if the person lives in a nursing and/or assisted living facility. (Note: These offices are only available during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm, except on holidays. For all emergencies, call 911.)

When you are safe and not in immediate danger, you should be prepared to answer the following questions to the best of your ability:

  • give your name, address, telephone number, sex, age and general condition
  • the name, sex, age, relationship to you of the suspected abuser
  • why you believe you are being harmed - be as detailed as you can
  • the best time to contact you if a personal visit is needed
  • is there is any danger to the worker going out to investigate
  • the names of others with information about the situation
  • any other information that will help APS resolve the concern

Confidentiality
All reports and records of the Adult Protective Services Program are subject to strict confidentiality provisions, except as provided by law or court order

I suspect someone I know is being harmed. What can I do?

If someone is being harmed right now, call 911.

If the concern is not life threatening, contact APS online or call 1-800-551-3191 to find your area APS office or the Ombudsmen if the person lives in a nursing and/or assisted living facility. (Note: These offices are only available during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm, except on holidays. For all emergencies, call 911.)

As a reporter, once you are sure the vulnerable adult is safe, you should be prepared to answer the following questions to the best of your ability:

  • the name, address, telephone number, sex, age and general condition of the person being abused
  • the name, sex, age, relationship to victim of the person who you suspect is abusing them
  • the situations that lead you to believe the person is being harmed – be as detailed as possible
  • the best time to contact the person
  • if the person knows the abuse is being reported and whether the person could make the report themselves
    • Note: the person being abused has the right to refuse any or all help offered unless a court has given authority to someone else
  • if there is any danger to the worker going out to investigate
  • your name, telephone number and profession - you can ask that this be kept private
  • the names and phone numbers of others with information about the situation
  • are you willing to be contacted again
  • any other information that will help APS resolve the concern

Confidentiality
All reports and records of the Adult Protective Services Program are strictly confidential, except as provided by law or a court order.

I want to help prevent abuse, neglect and exploitation. How can I help?

Helping the Vulnerable Adult - vulnerable adults should be made aware of the following:

  • Assault is a crime
  • Abuse will likely increase if no one seeks help
  • A safety plan is needed to get away from the abuser
  • The abuser is responsible for the violence, not the victim
  • The abuser may be imprisoned if the violence increases or continues
  • Vulnerable adults have the right to an Order of Protection against their abusers in criminal or family court

Suspicious Banking Activities - The following should be watched for as signs of financial exploitation

  • Unusual volume of banking activity
  • Banking activity inconsistent with usual habits
  • Suspicious signatures on checks or other financial documents
  • Sudden increases in debt the vulnerable adult appears unaware of
  • Funds withdrawn by a care giver or person with no apparent benefit to the vulnerable adult
  • Bank statements and cancelled checks no longer sent to the vulnerable adult's home

Steps To Prevent & Intervene

  • Speak privately with person if you notice suspicious transactions
  • If necessary, ask the person to speak with the police
  • Save any photographic evidence for law enforcement
  • Notify security and/or law enforcement immediately if the vulnerable adult appears to be in danger
  • If the person appears to be confused, increasingly frail, or neglected, notify Protective Services for Adults, Office for the Aging, or other abuse prevention programs