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Abuse & Neglect

Monroe County Commission on Aging
Serving Monroe County Seniors since 1973

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Abuse and Neglect

Never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up. 
~Jesse Jackson~

To report suspected elder abuse, neglect or exploitation call Michigan's Statewide Protective Services

Attorney General 24-hour Health Care Fraud Hotline
1-800-24-ABUSE / 1-800-242-2873

If the situation is serious, threatening, or dangerous, for immediate help, call 911 or the local police (Monroe County) 

Monroe Adult Protective Services (MDHHS)

Elder abuse is a growing problem! 
While we do not know all of the details about why abuse occurs or how to stop its spread, we do know that help is available for victims. Concerned people, like you, can spot the warning signs of a possible problem, and make a call for help if an elder requires assistance. 

The mistreatment of older adults takes many forms, including physical, verbal, emotional, and sexual abuse, financial exploitation, and neglect. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, the number of older adults who are mistreated each year is close to 5 million and rising. 

What is elder abuse?
Federal definitions of elder abuse first appeared in the 1987 Amendments to the Older Americans Act, however, these definitions are guidelines. Each state defines elder abuse according to its unique statutes and regulations, and definitions vary from state to state. Researchers also use varying definitions to describe and study the problem.

Domestic elder abuse generally refers to any of the following types of mistreatment that are committed by someone with whom the elder has a special relationship (for example, a spouse, sibling, child, friend, or caregiver).

Institutional abuse generally refers to any of the following types of mistreatment occurring in residential facilities (such as a nursing home, assisted living facility, group home, board, and care facility, foster home, etc.) and is usually perpetrated by someone with a legal or contractual obligation to provide some element of care or protection.

Elder abuse can affect people of all ethnic backgrounds and social status and can affect both men and women. The following types of abuse are commonly accepted as the major categories of elder mistreatment:

  • Physical Abuse—Inflicting, or threatening to inflict, physical pain or injury on a vulnerable elder, or depriving them of a basic need.
  • Emotional Abuse—Inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts.
  • Sexual Abuse—Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind, coercing an elder to witness sexual behaviors.
  • Exploitation—Illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder.
  • Neglect—Refusal or failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care, or protection for a vulnerable elder.
  • Abandonment—The desertion of a vulnerable elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person.
  • Vulnerable: A condition in which an adult is unable to protect himself or herself from abuse, neglect, or exploitation because of mental or physical impairment or advanced age.
Although there are distinct types of abuse defined, it is not uncommon for an elder to experience more than one type of mistreatment at the same or different times. For example, a person financially exploiting an elder may also be neglecting to provide appropriate care, food, medication, etc. 

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) provides the latest information regarding research, training, best practices, news, and resources on elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation to professionals and the public. First established by the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) in 1988 as a national elder abuse resource center, the NCEA was granted a permanent home at AoA in the 1992 amendments made to Title II of the Older Americans Act.

The NCEA is one of 27 Administration on Aging-funded Resource Centers. Research shows that as many as two million elders are abused in the United States. The Administration on Aging recognizes that as a government, as a society, and as individuals, we must increase our efforts to ensure that all older adults age with dignity and honor. 

The NCEA has prevention strategies, how to respond, and other valuable information on vulnerable adult abuse. NCEA has summarized and collected information about some of the most well-known interventions and response systems. It is important to remember that ANYONE can help at some level.

  • Learn when and how to report abuse
  • Get help for commonly seen “tricky situations” involving possible abuse of elders and adults with disabilities
  • Learn about the agencies and organizations that respond to reports of abuse
  • Learn what some communities and multidisciplinary teams are doing to prevent abuse from occurring
  • Explore how the many fields and organizations that serve elders and adults with disabilities may play a role in abuse intervention and prevention
  • To learn how to prevent abuse through volunteerism and raising awareness, visit the Get Involved section
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Should be Reported
Click HERE for the names of state officials to whom you may report nursing home abuse or neglect

When to Call an Ombudsman
Your local Ombudsman works with individual residents to resolve problems and promote high-quality care. They provide a community presence by routinely visiting residents of long-term care facilities.

  • When you have unresolved questions or concerns about care in a facility.
  • When you have questions about your rights in a long term care facility.
  • When you have questions on alternatives to nursing home care.
  • When you want to learn more about best practices and creative solutions to problems in long term care settings.
  • When you are shopping for long term care services.
  • When you have questions or need technical expertise in long-term care issues.

Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman  1-866-485-9393
Long-Term Care Ombudsmen are advocates for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes, assisted living facilities, and similar adult care facilities. They work to resolve problems of individual residents and to bring about changes at the local, state, and national levels that will improve residents’ care and quality of life.

National Long Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center advocates for residents' rights and quality care; educate consumers and providers; resolve residents' complaints; and provide information to the public on nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and services. 

The Administration on Aging (AOA) is the principal agency of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services designated to carry out the provisions of the Older Americans Act of 1965 (OAA), as amended (42 U.S.C.A. § 3001 et seq.). The OAA promotes the well-being of older individuals by providing services and programs designed to help them live independently in their homes and communities. The Act also empowers the federal government to distribute funds to the states for supportive services for individuals over the age of 60.

Nursing Home Abuse ~ "Know that Legal Help is Available"

Abuse of elderly residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities can be physical, emotional, and financial.

Families may be faced with the tough choice of choosing a nursing home to care for an aging loved one. Along with the cost, families must also deal with the dark reality of nursing home abuse.

Visit Drugwatch.com for more information. 

Nursing home patient rights  ~Nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect is a tragic reality facing many American families.  Nursing home abuse and neglect results from the willingness of too many nursing home companies to maximize their profits at the expense of their patients' safety.  This website is devoted to providing information regarding the rights and remedies of victims of nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect.  

If you have a question about nursing home abuse or neglect or need assistance, you can call toll free 1-888-922-2889 for a free consultation with an attorney experienced in nursing home abuse and neglect cases.  The attorney sponsors of this website offer free legal consultations to those visitors who believe they or a loved one may have been the victim of abuse or neglect.

The National Adult Protective Services Administrators (NAPSA) The goal of NAPSA is to provide Adult Protective Services (APS) programs a forum for sharing information, solving problems, and improving the quality of services for victims of elder and vulnerable adult mistreatment.  Its mission is to strengthen the capacity of Adult Protective Services (APS) at the national, state, and local levels, to effectively and efficiently recognize, report, and respond to the needs of elders and adults with disabilities who are the victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, and to prevent such abuse whenever possible. 

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services 
903 South Telegraph Road, Suite A 
Monroe, MI 48161 
TDD 800-649-3777 

According to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Adult Protective Services (APS), perpetrators of the elderly and vulnerable adults are often trusted family, friends, neighbors, or caregivers. This can occur in the person's home, in the home of another person, or licensed settings such as adult foster care, homes for the aged, or nursing homes. If you suspect elder or vulnerable adult abuse, neglect or exploitation has occurred in;

  • A private residence
  • An unlicensed setting such as an assisted living facility
  • An adult foster care home
  • A home for the aged
  • A nursing home where the suspected perpetrator is not an employee of the facility or the resident is on leave from the nursing home
If you suspect abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a resident of a nursing home by another resident or by a nursing home employee, notify the;

  • Bureau of Health Services Abuse Hotline 1-800-882-6006
  • Statewide 24-Hour Hotline  1-855-444-3911
  • Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc.
    • Developmental Disabilities  1-800-288-5923
    • Mental Illness  1-800-288-5923
  • If the situations serious, threatening, or dangerous, call 911 or the local police for immediate help

Mandated Reporters
If you are a part of any of the professions listed below, you may have a legal obligation to report any suspicions regarding vulnerable adults who you believe have been harmed or are at risk of harm from abuse, neglect, or exploitation. To make a report, call 1-855-444-3911

Health Care Services. Including, but not limited to. 
  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Psychologists
  • Counselors
  • Aides
  • Hospital Administrators and Staff
Educational Services. Including, but not limited to:
  • Teachers
  • Administrators
  • Counselors
Public Services. Including, but not limited to:
  • Social workers (administrators, supervisors, caseworkers, etc.)
  • Law Enforcement Officers.
  • County medical examiner and employees of the county medical examiner.
  • Adult Day Care Providers.
Note: Any person other than those listed above may make a report to adult protective services, but are not legally required to do so. 

The Michigan Model Vulnerable Adult Protocol for Joint Investigations of Vulnerable Adult Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation

Key points when using the MI-MVP:
  • The purpose of the MI-MVP is to assist local communities in protecting, investigating, and serving older and vulnerable persons and investigating the victimization of these individuals through increased collaboration. 
  • This is a model for local communities to customize and adapt, as needed, based on local resources and needs. 
  • Michigan statute clearly defines a vulnerable adult as an individual aged 18 and older who is unable to protect himself or herself from abuse, neglect, or exploitation because of mental or physical impairment or because of advanced age. 
  • Research demonstrates that vulnerable adult abuse is frequently part of the larger dynamic of family violence where the perpetrator is most often someone close to, related to, or in a close relationship with the victim. 
  • Vulnerable adults, even those with cognitive limitations, retain the right to make their own choices and decisions unless 

***Please Note***

These links and listings are meant to be a resource guide for those looking for resources in our community. 
This list is not all-inclusive of those resources available in our community.

The Monroe County Commission on Aging makes no specific endorsement of these listings, links, or services. 
Please feel free to contact our office with any changes or corrections.

Thank you for visiting the Monroe County Commission on Aging website.