Cognitive decline, health problems and isolation can make older people more vulnerable to financial scams, neglect and abuse. Because many older people do not have family members to check on them, reports from the public are often necessary to combat abuse.
In 2021, the state initiated over 2,100 abuse investigations due to public reports.
How to report abuse
One of the easiest ways to report elder abuse is to call the Adult Protective Services program’s hotline. The number is 888-APS-4302. Concerned members of the public can place an anonymous call at any time. The hotline operates 24 hours per day. However, if you believe someone is in immediate danger, you should call 911.
When to report
If you suspect someone is physically, emotionally or sexually abusing an older person or that an older person is experiencing neglect, abandonment, financial exploitation or some other harm, call the hotline to make a report. Once you make the call, Adult Protective Services will investigate the situation.
What happens when you report
If APS finds abuse or neglect, the program will take steps to resolve the issue. For example, if APS finds a senior living alone is not getting adequate nutrition, it may enroll that senior in Meals on Wheels. If the investigation uncovers criminal activity, APS will alert the appropriate authorities. However, seniors do not have to accept any help that APS offers.
Reporting suspected abuse is essential for protecting vulnerable seniors. Additionally, caregivers, healthcare workers and employees of financial institutions have a legal requirement to report suspected abuse.