Intervention Criteria and Signs of Abuse

Older Adult Protective Services (OAPS) can intervene when a person:

  • Is age 60 or older
  • Is a Philadelphia resident
  • Has no responsible caregiver present or is neglected by those responsible for providing food, shelter, health care or protection for a vulnerable elder
  • Is at imminent risk of danger to self or property
  • Is unable to perform essential tasks or obtain services necessary to maintain physical or mental health

Older adults who do not meet any of these criteria may be referred to other social services within PCA or in the community, as appropriate.

Signs of Elder Abuse

There are many indicators of abuse which can be observed in both the behavior and condition of the older adult and the caregiver. Below are some of the more common signs:

Signs in the Older Adult

  • Bruises, broken bones, burns, abrasions or other unexplained injuries
  • Poor hygiene, unusual weight loss or dehydration
  • Lack of needed glasses, hearing aids or other assistive devices
  • Over- or under-use of medication
  • Emotional state: anxious, timid, fearful or depressed

Caregiver Signs

  • Violence or excessive anger towards the older adult; offers conflicting stories about what is happening with the older person.
  • Financial exploitation:
  • Abnormal bank account closings
  • Major withdrawals
  • Older adult visiting bank in the company of a stranger
  • Sudden display of new wealth by the caregiver
  • An abrupt change in the person’s will
  • New transfer of property
  • Older adult lacking basic needs despite adequate financial resources

Signs of Self-Neglect

  • Hoarding
  • Inappropriate dress for weather conditions
  • Leaving a stove or oven unattended
  • Confusion
  • Lack of housekeeping
  • Failure to take needed medications

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