Warning Signs

Signs of Possible Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse

While the following signs and symptoms do not always mean that abuse has occurred, concerned individuals can use them to spot warning signs of a possible problem and report suspected elder/dependent adult abuse.

Signs and symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • The desertion of an elder/dependent adult at a hospital, nursing facility, or other similar institution
  • The desertion of an elder/dependent adult at a shopping center or other public location
  • An elder’s/dependent adult’s own report of being abandoned

Signs and symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Feelings of depression, anxiety, agitation, and helplessness
  • Being extremely withdrawn, non-communicative, or non-responsive
  • Unusual behavior usually attributed to dementia (e.g., sucking biting, rocking)
  • An elder’s/dependent adult’s report of being verbally or emotionally mistreated

Signs and symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Sudden changes in bank account or banking practice, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money by a person accompanying the elder/dependent adult
  • The inclusion of additional names to an elder’s/dependent adult’s bank account
  • Unauthorized withdrawal of the elder’s/dependent adult’s funds using the elder’s/dependent adult’s ATM card
  • Abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents
  • Unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions
  • Substandard care being provided or bills unpaid despite the availability of adequate financial resources
  • Discovery of an elder’s/dependent adult’s signature being forged for financial transactions or for the titles of his/her possessions
  • Unexplained sudden transfer of assets to a family member or someone outside the family
  • The provision of services that are not necessary
  • An elder/dependent adult’s report of financial exploitation

Signs and symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Dehydration, malnutrition, untreated bed sores, and poor personal hygiene
  • Unattended or untreated health problems
  • Hazardous or unsafe living condition/arrangements (e.g., improper wiring, no heat, no running water)
  • Unsanitary and unclean living conditions (e.g., dirt, fleas, lice on person, soiled bedding, fecal/urine smell, inadequate clothing)
  • An elder’s/dependent adult’s report of being mistreated

Signs and symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Bruises, black eyes, welts, lacerations, and rope marks
  • Bone fractures, broken bones, and skull fractures
  • Open wounds, cuts, punctures, and untreated injuries in various stages of healing
  • Sprains, dislocations and internal injuries/bleeding
  • Broken eyeglasses/frames, physical signs of being subjected to punishment, and signs of being restrained.
  • Laboratory findings of medication overdose or underutilization of prescribed drugs
  • An elder’s/dependent adult’s report of being hit, slapped, kicked, or mistreated
  • An elder’s/dependent adult’s sudden change in behavior
  • A caregiver’s refusal to allow visitors to see elder/dependent adult alone.

Signs and symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Dehydration or malnutrition
  • Untreated or improperly attended medical conditions
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Inappropriate and/or inadequate clothing; lack of the necessary medical aids (e.g., eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures)
  • Hazardous or unsafe living conditions/arrangements (e.g., imprope wiring, no indoor plumbing, no heat, no running water)
  • Unsanitary or clean living quarters (e.g., animal/insect infestation, no functioning toilet, fecal/urine smell)
  • Grossly inadequate housing or homelessness

Signs and symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Bruises around the breasts or genital area
  • Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections
  • Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
  • Torn, stained, or blooding underclothing
  • An elder’s/dependent adult’s report of being sexually assaulted or raped.

Adult Protective Services

Information (888) 202-4248 • In-service training for mandated reporters (213) 738-2604