Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse

old woman

Adult Protective Services (APS) at 800-451-5155 (24-Hour Hotline)

The abuse of elders and dependent adults occurs at all income levels and in every city in Orange County. An elder is a person of age 65 or older. A dependent adult is a person between the ages of 18 and 64 with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities. The full scope of elder and dependent abuse is limited due to the problem's hidden and complex nature. Over 225,000 Californians become victims each year, but experts believe the problem to be much larger. Victims often remain silent because they fear retaliation from their abusers. Many times victims remain unnoticed and untreated because they are isolated. Abuse is often divided into four main categories: physical abuse, neglect, psychological or emotional abuse, and financial abuse. Other types of abuse may include isolation, abandonment, or abduction. Self-neglect can be detrimental to an individual's well being and should also be reported. Individuals are most often the victims of multiple kinds of abuse.

Recognizing the Warning Signs of Abuse

Physical Abuse

  • Injuries that are incompatible with explanations
  • Bruises, scratches, or other injuries
  • Inappropriate use of a physical restraint or medication

Neglect and Self-Neglect

  • Poor hygiene, dirty or torn clothes or lack of appropriate shelter
  • Medical conditions that go untreated
  • Malnutrition and dehydration

Psychological or Emotional Abuse

  • Elderly person or dependent adult is withdrawn secretive or is hesitant to talk freely around caregiver
  • Family members or caregivers isolate the elder or dependent adult, restricting contact with other family members or friends

Financial Abuse

  • Unusual bank account activity including unexplained ATM withdrawals
  • Unpaid bills, eviction notices or discontinued utilities
  • Implausible explanations given about an elder or dependent adult's finances
  • Changes in spending patterns often accompanied by the appearance of a new "best friend"

Whether you are a victim or suspect the abuse of someone you know, you are not alone when seeking help!

Picture of neglected elderly man with cruchesCall Orange County Adult Protective Services 24-Hour Hotline 800-451-5155

  • After the report a social worker will respond immediately in an emergency or within 10 calendar days of the report.
  • Names of reporting parties are confidential and will not be revealed to the victim, their family or the alleged abuser.
  • The elder or dependent adult will be given options to keep him/her safe from harm.
  • The victim and their family members can be linked with appropriate community resources.
  • Unaware family members and friends can be alerted to step in and help.
  • The APS social worker can assist victims and their families in developing individualized care plans.
  • The reporter can feel relief in knowing that a professional is assessing the situation.