It can be frightening to discover that a family member is the victim of elder abuse. Whether you have uncovered signs of physical, financial, or emotional abuse, it’s critical that you take action as soon as possible to stop the abuse and protect the individual.
Take the Accusation Seriously
Don’t make the mistake of looking the other way if something doesn’t seem “right.” If an older adult tells you that something is wrong, take it seriously. Investigate. Get as many details as possible so that the information can be used to file a report.
Keep in mind that abuse usually will worsen over time. Even minor concerns can escalate into serious problems. Many types of abuse might warrant prosecution. In these cases, you should involve the authorities. Don’t attempt to handle the situation without professional expertise.
Reporting Elder Abuse
All states have systems in place for reporting and investigating allegations of abuse. Research information in your local area to locate available resources. One option to consider is reporting the abuse to the Adult Protective Services (APS). This organization provides support services for vulnerable and older adults.
Another option is to call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116. This is a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging. It can help you locate the appropriate agency in your local area. When you call, make sure to use the correct zip code.
If criminal activity has occurred, report the situation to the police. If the person is in immediate danger, call 911. Otherwise, police departments have non-emergency reporting lines that can be used.
Details to Include in the Report
The best way to facilitate the investigation is by providing detailed information about the abuse that occurred:
- Name, address, and phone number of the victim
- Name, address, and phone number of the alleged perpetrator
- Illness, mental health, or disability information about both parties
- Details about the signs of abuse or your reason for concern
- Medical reports or statements from a doctor
The information will be kept confidential. Therefore, it is important to provide as much data as possible to support the investigation.
Contact us for more information: Email info@SeniorSafeAndSound.org or call 858-480-7551. Senior Safe and Sound.
This information is intended to inform the public at large about this important issue. It is not intended to serve as legal advice.