Older adults are often at risk for various types of elder abuse. This can include physical, emotional, mental, sexual, and financial abuse. Unfortunately, these seniors can’t always protect themselves from the perpetrators. You can help by monitoring the situation and reporting any unusual activity when appropriate.
It can be shocking to discover an incident of elder abuse or neglect. Whether you suspect poor treatment of a loved one, or notice unusual activities among the neighbors, don’t delay in seeking support to investigate the situation.
Reporting Elder Abuse
When you suspect the abuse of a senior, take a quick assessment to consider the immediate threat. If the person is facing life-threatening or immediate danger, don’t hesitate… phone 9-1-1.
If the danger isn’t immediate, you can evaluate your options for reporting the situation. But tell someone as soon as possible. You can reach out to the police or adult protective services and file a report. For example, call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 to talk to a trained operator who can refer you to a local agency.
Why Anonymous Reporting?
Specific laws vary from state to state, but most states in the US allow you to file an anonymous elder abuse report if desired. If you are in the state of California, you can work through Adult Protective Services (APS) when reporting abuse. You can report abuse anonymously over the phone, through online forms, or by fax. Some agencies also allow for anonymous in-person reporting.
It’s ideal for you to provide your name and contact number when reporting the abuse because the person assigned to the case will want to talk to you for more information. But there are times when people prefer to remain anonymous. They want to:
- Avoid retaliation from the abusers
- Minimize embarrassment; stay out of the public eye
- Protect their job (if they are a medical provider)
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t wait to report elder abuse. File the report as soon as possible to prevent ongoing mistreatment and injury to the victim.
This information is intended to inform the public at large about this important issue. It is not intended to serve as legal or medical advice.