Elder Abuse- What Does Ohio Adult Protective Services (APS) Do, When and How to Contact APS, and Tips for Avoiding Elder Abuse.

Adult Protective Services (APS) investigates suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation of those 60 and older. Abuse is defined as infliction upon an adult by self or others of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish. Neglect is defined as the failure of an adult to provide for self the goods or services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness or the failure of a caretaker to provide such goods or services. Exploitation means the unlawful or improper act of a caretaker using an adult or an adult’s resources for their monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain.

APS is part of each Ohio County Department of Job and Family Services. For contact information of the county departments, visit http://jfs.ohio.gov/County/County_Directory.pdf

You are immune from civil or criminal liability if a report is filed in good faith. Further, an employer cannot retaliate against you. The report should income the name, address and age of the adult, the name and address of the caregiver, and the nature and extend of suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation and your basis for why you believe it has occurred.

If it is an emergency, meaning that there is substantial risk of immediate physical harm to an individual or others, it must be investigated within 24 hours. Other reports must be investigated within 3 business days. In an investigation, the investigator must meet face to face with the victim and when possible, speak with the person who made the report. Written notice of the investigation, as well as a written report with conclusions, must be provided to the victim.

APS services may include a caseworker, guardianship services, housing services, medical care including home health care, mental health services, food and clothing provisions, among others.

APS may open a case with the county Probate Court to provide services if the adult refuses or to restrain an adult from obstructing an investigation.

Some steps can be taken to help avoid becoming a victim of elder abuse.

• As financial exploitation in often done by adult children of the victim or other trusted individuals, it is imperative that the elderly stay informed about their finances, including performing regular reviews of monthly statements. Power of attorney appointments should be decided with care and if an elderly person has concerns about the agent, the elderly person should consider appointing multiple agents who can keep an eye on each other or a conservatorship, which is essentially a court supervised financial guardian for those with physical limitations.

• If you have questions about any proposed financial arrangements, seek outside counsel like a trusted friend or family member or an attorney.

• Maintain a network of family and friends. Such a network will help deter bad actors and provide more people to keep an eye on you.