Skip to main content

Adult Protective Services/Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse is a serious problem requiring attention. Please contact Erie County Adult Protection Services/Elder Abuse at (716) 858-6877

What is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse (60+) can take many forms. The five common types of elder abuse are:

  1. Physical Abuse - The non-accidental use of force that results in bodily injury, pain or impairment including but not limited to being hit, kicked, slapped, pushed, burned, cut, bruised or physically restrained.
  2. Sexual Abuse - Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind, including but not limited to touching inappropriately, molestation, or forced sexual relations.
  3. Psychological/Emotional Abuse - The willful infliction of mental or emotional anguish by threat, humiliation, intimidation, threatening or other abusive conduct including isolating the adult.
  4. Financial Exploitation- Financial abuse spans a broad spectrum of conduct, including:
    • Taking money or property
    • Forging an older person's signature
    • Getting an older person to sign a deed, will, or power of attorney through deception, coercion, or undue influence
    • Using the older person's property or possessions without permission
    • Promising lifelong care in exchange for money or property and not following through on the promise
    • Confidence crimes ("cons") are the use of deception to gain victims' confidence
    • Scams are fraudulent or deceptive acts
    • Fraud is the use of deception, trickery, false pretence, or dishonest acts or statements for financial gain
    • Telemarketing scams - perpetrators call victims and use deception, scare tactics, or exaggerated claims to get them to send money
    • They may also make charges against victims' credit cards without authorization

    Indicators are signs or clues that abuse has occurred. Some of the indicators listed below can be explained by other causes or factors and no single indicator can be taken as conclusive proof. Rather, one should look for patterns or clusters of indicators that suggest a problem.

    • Unpaid bills, eviction notices, or notices to discontinue utilities
    • Withdrawals from bank accounts or transfers between accounts that the older person cannot explain
    • Bank statements and canceled checks no longer come to the elder's home
    • New "best friends"
    • Legal documents, such as powers of attorney, which the older person didn't understand at the time he or she signed them
    • Unusual activity in the older person's bank accounts including large, unexplained withdrawals, frequent transfers between accounts, or ATM withdrawals
    • The care of the elder is not commensurate with the size of his/her estate
    • A caregiver expresses excessive interest in the amount of money being spent on the older person
    • Belongings or property are missing
    • Suspicious signatures on checks or other documents
    • Absence of documentation about financial arrangements
    • Implausible explanations given about the elderly person's finances by the elder or the caregiver
    • The elder is unaware of or does not understand financial arrangements that have been made for him or her

    More helpful information on Elder Abuse can be found at the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.

  5. Neglect- Failure of a responsible relative or other responsible caregiver to meet a dependent older person's basic need for food, shelter or medical care. May either be active neglect or passive neglect.
    • Active neglect: Intentional abandonment or refusal to use available resources to obtain needed care. Often may be due to hoarding of an expected inheritance.
    • Passive neglect: Unintentional failure to meet a care giving responsibility. May be the result of caregiver's own mental or physical impairment, or be due to caregiver stress.
    • Self neglect: The inability due to physical and/or mental impairments to perform tasks essential to caring for oneself, including but not limited to: providing essential food, clothing, shelter and medical care; obtaining goods and services necessary to maintain physical health, emotional well-being and general safety; managing financial affairs.

    Note: Self-neglect accounts for nearly ½ of all elder abuse cases.

Information on Elder Abuse

NYS Office of Child & Family Services (NYSOCFS)

Gives information on training & materials available from NYS Office of Child & Family Services

Aging in Place

Aging in Place is a resource hub for seniors and their families to learn more about the specific aspects of aging in place. You can visit our one stop shop for expert know-how in order to make the best decisions about in-home care, insurance, government assistance, and other financial resources, transportation options, and home remodeling.

What should I do if I Suspect Abuse?

Most cases of elder abuse go undetected. Don’t assume that someone has already reported a suspicious situation. The agency receiving the report will ask what you observed, who was involved, and who they can contact to learn more.

You do not need to prove that abuse is occurring; it is up to the professionals to investigate the suspicions.

To report suspected abuse in the community, contact your local Adult Protective Services agency. The Erie County Adult Protective Services phone number is 858-6877.

To report abuse or neglect in a nursing home or other facility, please contact the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Center at (518) 549-0200.

The Vulnerable Persons Central Register (VPCR) Hotline toll-free number is 1-855-373-2122.