Elder Abuse Prevention

Elder Abuse Prevention

Elder abuse can take many forms. It can be physical, emotional, financial, sexual, or self-neglect. It can happen anywhere and the abuser can be a loved one, family member, friend, neighbor, paid caregiver, or stranger.  Each year hundreds of thousands of older persons are abused, neglected, and exploited. Alpine Area Agency on Aging works to ensure elders who have been abused are supported and protected, our staff works with adult protection, the state health department, law enforcement agencies, attorneys and district attorneys to investigate and resolve these cases.

As of July, 2014, certain professionals must report elder abuse, caretaker neglect, and exploitation of at-risk elders (an at-risk elder is any person 70 years of age or older). If you are a mandatory reporter and you witness or become aware that an at risk elder has been or is at imminent risk for mistreatment, you must report to law enforcement within 24 hours.

  • If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 911 or the local police for immediate help

Financial Exploitation?

Financial exploitation occurs when a person misuses or takes the assets of a vulnerable adult for his/her own personal benefit. This frequently occurs without the explicit knowledge or consent of a senior or disabled adult, depriving him/her of vital financial resources for his/her personal needs.

Assets are commonly taken via forms of deception, false pretenses, coercion, harassment, duress and threats. There is more detailed information about financial exploitation here.

Commonly reported forms of Financial Explotiation of Seniors includes:

  • Theft: involves assets taken without knowledge, consent or authorization; may include taking of cash, valuables, medications other personal property.
  • Fraud: involves acts of dishonestly by persons entrusted to manage assets but appropriate assets for unintended uses; may include falsification of records, forgeries, unauthorized check-writing, andPonzi-type financial schemes.
  • Real Estate: involves unauthorized sales, transfers or changes to property title(s); may include unauthorized or invalid changes to estate documents.
  • Contractor: includes building contractors or handymen who receive payment(s) for building repairs, but fail to initiate or complete project; may include invalid liens by contractors.
  • Lottery scams: involves payments (or transfer of funds) to collect unclaimed property or “prizes” from lotteries or sweepstakes.
  • Electronic: includes “phishing” e-mail messages to trick persons into unwittingly surrendering bank passwords; may include faxes, wire transfers, telephonic communications.
  • Mortgage: includes financial products which are unaffordable or out-of-compliance with regulatory requirements; may include loans issued against property by unauthorized parties.
  • Investment: includes investments made without knowledge or consent; may include high-fee funds (front or back-loaded) or excessive trading activity to generate commissions for financial advisors.
  • Insurance: involves sales of inappropriate products, such as a thirty-year annuity for a very elderly person; may include unauthorized trading of life insurance policies.

When to Report Checklist

If you witness a life-threatening situation involving a senior or adult with disabilities, dial 911. Contact your local Adult Protective Services agency any time you observe or suspect the following: 

  • Termination of vital utilities such as telephone, water, electricity / gas, or garbage
  • Unpaid bills and liabilities despite adequate income
  • Oversight of finances surrendered to others without explanation or consent
  • Transferring assets to new “friends” assisting with finances
  • Checks written to “Cash”
  • Does not understand his/her current finances, offers improbable explanations
  • Unexplained disappearance of cash, valuable objects, financial statements
  • Unexplained or unauthorized changes to wills or other estate documents
  • Giving-away money or spending promiscuously
  • Appearance of property liens or foreclosure notices


To report elder abuse, contact the Adult Protective Services (APS) agency in the county where the elder resides:

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