What to do if you suspect elder abuse

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15. Unfortunately, elderly people living with dementia are more likely to become victims of exploitation, fraud, and neglect. In 2014, Travis County Adult Protective Services received 4,014 reports of abuse, neglect (or self-neglect), or exploitation, and it’s believed that most cases of elder abuse go unreported. If you notice any of the warning signs of elder abuse in someone you know, here are some steps you can take.

Contact Adult Protective Services
Adult Protective Services (APS) is the state agency tasked with investigating abuse, neglect (self-neglect, and exploitation of older adults (65 years and older) and adults with mental or physical disabilities that cause substantial impairment in their ability to live independently and provide self-care.

When to call:
If you suspect that an elderly person or a person with a disability living either at home or in a facility is the victim of elder abuse (including self-neglect). Visit www.everyonesbusiness.org for more indicators of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

What happens when APS is contacted?
Once involved, APS will provide services to alleviate and prevent further maltreatment. Services might include short-term help with food or shelter, home repairs, transportation, managing money, medical care, home healthcare services, mental health services, and information and referrals to other community resources.

How can I help?
The Department of Family and Protective Services has “resource rooms” that store goods APS caseworkers use to assist their clients, such as dietary supplements, incontinence products, sundries, or durable medical equipment. Learn more about donating supplies.

Other resources
If the abused person is living in a long term care facility that receives Medicaid funding, you can report the abuse, neglect, or exploitation to the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at (800) 252-8011 or by email at [email protected].

Abuse, exploitation, or neglect in a long term care facility can also be reported to the local Long Term Care Ombudsman, whose role is to identify, investigate, and resolve complaints made by, or on behalf of, residents and to provide services to help in protecting health, safety, welfare, and rights. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging to connect with your LTC Ombudsman.

If you suspect that the person is in immediate danger, or has been the victim of assault or sexual abuse, contact local law enforcement.

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