Public Service Announcement:
Preventing elder abuse during COVID Times
Adult Protective Services (APS) responds to confidential reports from anyone who suspects that an elderly person or an adult with a disability (dependent adult) who lives in Contra Costa County is being abused or neglected or is self-neglecting. Our 24-hour hotline is staffed by social workers who respond to these calls and will walk the caller through a series of questions to determine if a situation requires APS intervention. When a case is opened in APS, an APS social worker will be assigned to the case and will go out to the home of the alleged victim to determine what services, if any, are needed.
Persons Who Are The Subject Of The Report
Elder means any California resident, 65 years or older, as defined in the California Welfare and Institution (W&I) Code, Section 15610.27. Dependent adult means any California resident, aged 18 through 64, who has physical or mental limitations that restrict his/her ability to carry out normal activities or to protect his/her rights including, but not limited to, persons who have physical or developmental disabilities or whose physical or mental disabilities have diminished because of age. [W&I Section 15610.23]
Anyone interested in obtaining more information or who wishes to report adult or elder abuse should call 24 hours a day:
- Landlines in Contra Costa, call toll free (877) 839-4347
- Cell Phones or outside Contra Costa, call (925) 602-4179
ALL REFERRALS ARE CONFIDENTIAL
Mandated reporters are individuals who because of their jobs are required by law to report known or suspected abuse. Any person who has assumed full or intermittent responsibility for care or custody of an elder or dependent adult, whether or not that person receives compensation, including administrators, supervisors, and any licensed staff of a public or private facility that provides care or services for elder or dependent adults, or any elders or dependent adult custodian, health practitioner, clergy member, or employee of a county adult protective services agency or a local law enforcement agency. [Welfare & Institution Code (“W&I”) section 15630(a)]. Mandated reporters include licensed practitioners, law enforcement, government agency employees, in-home supportive services providers, care custodians, clergy, financial institutions and animal control.
Legal Requirements of Reporting Elder Abuse:
APS accepts reports of abuse and neglect from the community and from mandated reporters. The purpose of APS is to investigate and seek to correct situations involving abuse, neglect or exploitation. This is accomplished through a thorough investigation of the allegations and the linking of the alleged victim with appropriate community resources. APS works with individuals, their families, friends, neighbors, and community agencies to provide services and help victims maintain themselves in a safe environment.
- Home Safe Program
- Housing and Disability Advocacy Program (HDAP)
- Community Resources for Aging & Adult Services
- Information Regarding Contra Costa County Elder Court [PDF]
Principles of APS Intervention
A guiding principle for APS intervention is the right of the client for Self-Determination. Any APS client has the right to refuse or withdraw their consent for APS services. They have the right to reside in the least restrictive environment. APS does not have the right to impose its will upon others if they are capable of making a conscious choice. APS does not have the right to take someone into “protective custody”. Nor does APS have the authority to force adults to follow the recommended case plan.
Types of Abuse
Physical Abuse Including Sexual Abuse Indicators Include:
- Inadequately explained fractures, bruises, welts, cuts, sores and burns;
- Pressure or “bed sores (Decubitis ulcers);
- Medications used to restrain victims;
- Bleeding, swelling or bleeding in external genitalia, vagina or anal areas.
Neglect (by self or others) Indicators Include:
- Lack of personal hygiene, food, water, clothing, or shelter;
- Medical care neglect including lack of medical aids (wheel chair, dentures, walker, glasses or medication);
- Demented victim left without proper care or supervision;
- Bed-bound victims left without proper care;
- Lack of clean, appropriate clothing or linens;
- Home cluttered, filthy, in a state of disrepair, or having health, fire or safety hazards;
- Home lacking minimum equipment and facilities (stove, refrigerator, heat, cooling, working plumbing and electricity);
- Animal Hoarding
Financial Abuse Indicators Include:
- A lack of amenities that the victim can afford;
- Victim “voluntarily” giving inappropriate financial reimbursement for needed care and companionship;
- Caretaker has control of victim’s money but is failing to provide for victim’s needs;
- Caretaker using victim’s financial resources for their own needs; and
- Victim has signed property transfers, Power of Attorney, new will, etc. when unable to comprehend the transaction;
- Suspicious withdrawals and unusual bank activities.
Psychological Abuse Indicators Include:
- Caretaker isolates victim by restricting visits and phone calls – may not want to let someone into home to speak to victim – and;
- Caretaker is violent, aggressive, controlling, addicted, or uncaring;
- Includes insults, yelling and threats of harm or isolation