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What is Elder Abuse?
Abuse occurs when a disabled adult’s caretaker causes physical or mental pain, unreasonable confinement, or willful deprivation.
Signs of Abuse:
Unusual or unexplained bruises, welts, fractures or burns
Bedsores, unexplained weight loss, abnormally dry skin or lips
Inadequate shelter or medical care
Inappropriate clothing for weather or conditions
Any willful confinement in a dangerous environment.
Exploitation occurs when someone illegally or improperly uses a disabled adult’s resources.
Signs of Exploitation:
Unexplained withdrawal of money from bank accounts
Use of deceit, treachery, or coercion to obtain money or assets
Unusual interest by anyone in the disabled adult’s assets
Difference between assets and lifestyle
Unusually large payments for services
Mismanagement of funds
Failure to pay for essential services
Self-Neglect occurs when a disabled adult lives alone or has no caretaker and is not able to care for him or herself.
Signs of Self Neglect:
Aimless wandering at night
Forgetfulness– such as forgetting to turn the stove on or off
Inability to cook, eat, bathe, toilet, dress or care for oneself
Weight loss or dehydration
Causing small fires
Inappropriate use of medications
Living in an unsafe environment
Caretaker Neglect occurs when a disabled adult’s caretaker fails to provide the necessary services to avoid physical harm and maintain mental and physical health.
Signs of Caregiver Neglect:
- Failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, or attention to personal and incidental needs
- Failure to manage resources to meet disabled adult’s needs
- Failure to provide supervision and a safe living environment
- Failure to provide for or arrange for medical needs
Report Elder Abuse!
Who Reports? YOU DO! If you suspect that someone you know is at risk or is the victim of elder abuse, you must report the suspected abuse to Adult Protective Services at your local Department of Social or Human Services. If you are concerned that an older or disabled adult is in immediate danger, call 911 right away.
Why Report? Because it’s the law! North Carolina law requires reporting when anyone suspects that an older or disabled adult is being abused, neglected or exploited. The reporter’s name is always kept confidential and reporters are protected from civil and criminal liability for good faith reports.
What Information Will I Need?
Provide as much information as you have, but do not let lack of information stop you from making a report.
Name, address, age or date of birth of the individual
Caregiver’s name (if any)
Explanation of the situation
Mental or physical condition of the individual
Names of others who may have information
Where to Report? Your county Department of Social Services-Adult Protective Services. If you need contact information for the Adult Protective Services Department in your county, go the N.C. Division of Social Services County referral website and click on the county where the person needing assistance lives.
For suspected abuse in Nursing Homes, contact the Division of Health Service Regulation. For suspected abuse in Adult Care Homes, contact the local Department of Social Services in the county where the affected person lives.
Department of Social Services – Adult Protective Services Contacts:
|Alamance County||(336) 229-2908|
|Caswell County||(336) 694-4141|
|Davidson County||(336) 242-2500|
|Davie County||(336) 751-8800|
|Forsyth County||(336) 703-3503|
|Guilford County||(336) 641-3137|
|Montgomery County||(910) 576-6531|
|Randolph County||(336) 683-8000|
|Rockingham County||(336) 342-1394|
|Stokes County||(336) 593-2861|
|Surry County||(336) 401-8800|
|Yadkin County||(336) 679-4210|
What Makes Some Older Adults Vulnerable to Abuse?
They rely on the abusive party for care.
They may feel financially responsible for the abusive party.
Greater cultural tolerance for family violence among their generation: “You lie in the bed you made.”
They have multiple fears such as alienation of family and loved ones, isolation, lack of transportation, fear of dying, and fear of dying alone.