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Department of Human Services

Adult and Aging Division

What is Abuse or Neglect?

There are many types of elder and dependent adult abuse and neglect. If any type of abuse is suspected and reported, APS social workers can provide short-term counseling, case management and referrals to helpful services to stop the abuse and ensure the ongoing safety of the person. Legal help is sought when needed if the older adult agrees. 

Types of abuse:

  • Physical: Direct beatings, lack of medical care or over-medication, sexual exploitation
  • Abandonment: Desertion or willful forsaking by anyone having responsibility for care
  • Isolation: Preventing a dependent adult from receiving mail, telephone calls, visitors
  • Financial: Theft, misuse of funds or property, extortion, duress, fraud
  • Neglect: Denial of food, clothing, shelter, health care. Or unable to provide basic needs
  • Self-neglect: Malnutrition, being unkempt, unmet medical needs, unpaid bills
  • Mental suffering: Verbal assaults, threats, fear

Signs of Possible Abuse or Neglect

Below are possible warning signs of abuse or neglect. If you see signs in someone you know, call the APS Hotline to talk about your concerns with a social worker.

  • Injury that is inconsistent with the explanation for its cause.
  • The elder or dependent adult has recently become confused or disoriented.
  • The caregiver shows anger, indifference, aggressive behavior toward the adult.
  • Personal belongings, papers or credit cards are missing.
  • Hesitation from the adult to talk openly with others.
  • The caregiver has a history of substance abuse, mental illness, criminal behavior or family violence.
  • Lack of necessities, such as food, water, utilities, medications and medical care.
  • Another person's name is added to the client's bank account or important documents, or checks are frequently made out to "Cash."