The Heritage Agency’s Elder Abuse Prevention and Awareness Program’s Elder Rights Specialists can help individuals age 60 and older who are victims of abuse, neglect, and exploitation by presenting options to improve their quality of life, while reducing risk and/or eliminating the abusive situation.
The following physical, behavioral, environmental, and financial indicators are some of the signs of possible elder abuse. This list is not all-inclusive and is to be used as a guide to assist you to determine if an elderly person needs assistance.
- Physical condition: lack of medical care; lack of personal cleanliness/grooming/body odor; bites/fleas/sores/lesions/lacerations; frequent falls; malnourishment or dehydration; swollen eyes or ankles, decayed teeth/no teeth, unexplained injuries.
- Environment: no food or rotted/infested food; inadequate cooking facilities or equipment; gross accumulation of garbage/papers/clutter, structural hazards; uncared for pets; lack of heat/water, unsanitary conditions.
- Behavior: refusing medical care; refusing visitors or needed services; withdrawn/reclusive/suspicious/timid; social isolation; disoriented to time and place; forgetfulness/confusion, losing items, not shutting off stove or using stove to heat home; lying/sitting in urine or feces; mail/newspaper not collected.
- Financial: unpaid bills; giving money to others when own bills are not paid; limited or no knowledge of finances; unusual activity in bank accounts; changes in power of attorney.
To make a referral to the Elder Abuse Prevention and Awareness Program, contact LifeLong Links at 866-468-7887 or for more information on how you can prevent elder abuse. This program is funded through the Iowa Dept. on Aging. If you are aware of a dependent adult who is possibly being abused or in an unsafe situation in the community, contact the Dept. of Human Services day or night at 800-362-2178. To report abuse in a facility, contact the Dept. of Inspections & Appeals at 877-686-0027.