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Elder Abuse

Who Reports?

You do!  If you suspect that someone you know is at risk or is the victim of elder abuse, you must report the suspected abuse to Adult Protective Services at your local Department of Social Services.


Why Report?

Because it’s the law!  North Carolina law requires reporting when anyone suspects that an older or disabled adult is being abused, neglected or exploited.  The reporter’s name is always kept confidential and reporters are protected from civil and criminal liability for good faith reports.


What Information Will I Need?

Provide as much information as you have, but do not let lack of information stop you from making a report:


  • Name, address, age or date of birth of the individual

  • Caregiver’s name (if any)

  • Explanation of the situation

  • Mental or physical condition of the individual 

  • Names of others who may have information

What is Elder Abuse?


  • Abuse occurs when a disabled adult’s caretaker causes physical or mental pain, unreasonable confinement, or willful deprivation.


  • Exploitation occurs when someone illegally or improperly uses a disabled adult’s resources.


  • Self Neglect occurs when a disabled adult lives alone or has no caretaker and is not able to care for him or herself.


  • Caretaker Neglect occurs when a disabled adult’s caretaker fails to provide the necessary services to avoid physical harm and maintain mental and physical health.


What Makes Some Older Adults Vulnerable to Abuse?

  • They rely on the abusive party for care.

  • They may feel financially responsible for the abusive party.

  • Greater cultural tolerance for family violence among their generation: “You lie in the bed you made.”

  • They have multiple fears such as alienation of family and loved ones, isolation, lack of transportation, fear of dying, or fear of dying alone.


To report a concern for an elder adult, or to obtain additional information, contact your county Department of Social Services at the following numbers:


  • Alexander County    828.632.1080

  • Burke County           828.439.2000

  • Caldwell County       828.426.8200

  • Catawba County       828.695.5600

  • Nights/weekends     911


Financial Scams

Fact sheet on Elder Financial Scams can be accessed directly by clicking here.

15 questions About Elder Abuse

Neglect and Abuse

How to Contact your local Ombudsman:

Christina Franklin

Regional Ombudsman

(828) 485-4213

Michael Layza

Aging Specialist/Ombudsman

(828) 485-4271

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