When older adults experience a crisis, whether due to abuse by another person or because they are having difficulties caring for themselves, they may not know who to go to for help. They may be ashamed, fearful of government workers, or worried they will lose their independence. The truth is, Adult Protective Services is a voluntary program that older adults can choose to participate in or not. APS social workers will offer support, provide resources and advocacy, and encourage older adults to have what they need to reduce their risk and enhance their safety.
Romance scams occur when an individual creates a fake profile with the intention to gain a victim’s affection and trust. Scammers may seem genuine, caring, and believable. Once trust in gained, scammers will make up stories and start to ask for money. They may even propose marriage and make plans to meet in person which never happens.
Adult Protective Services works in collaboration with the District Attorney’s office who is committed to prosecuting crimes committed against seniors and dependent adults. The District Attorney’s office also works with law enforcement agencies to pursue these types of crimes. Financial Abuse cases can be devastating to the victim and are frequently traced to family members, trusted friends, caregivers, and individuals falsely representing companies such as banks.
When a senior or dependent adult is living in a way that puts their health and safety at risk or jeopardizes their physical, emotional and mental health, it can greatly impact their overall well-being. Self-neglect is the most common type of call received by Adult Protective Services. This could include concerns such as missed doctor appointments or frequent ER visits, weight loss, hoarding, unpaid bills, or when caregiving needs exceed the individual’s capacity. When Adult Protective Services becomes involved, the goal is to maintain the safety, health and independence of the individual (Rathbone-McCuan, 2014; NAPSA, n.d.a).
Elder financial abuse occurs when an older adult is financially exploited by friends, family members, caregivers, or individuals falsely representing companies, banks, etc. such as internet or phone scams. This type of abuse can leave seniors penniless after decades of hard work to save money. The long-term consequences of elder financial exploitation can be devastating. Elders experiencing financial abuse may lose their entire life savings and no longer be able to afford rent, care, or basic living expenses.
There are ways you can take action against elder financial abuse or self-neglect such as reporting cases to Adult Protective Services (APS) or local law enforcement.