Signs of Possible Abuse:

Bruises, cuts or other physical harm

Sudden behavior changes

Unsafe or unclean living conditions

Poor personal hygiene

Unexplained, sudden financial changes

Disappearing personal possessions

Overuse or under-use of prescription medicine


Report suspected elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Adult Protective Services:



For suspected abuse in a nursing home or assisted living facility, contact the long-term care ombudsman: 1-800-282-1206



Elder Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation

Elder abuse refers to any knowing, intentional or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult, according to the U.S. Administration for Community Living. It can happen anywhere, anytime, and often affects the most vulnerable members of the community. While approximately 16,000 reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation are made each year in Ohio, the National Institutes of Health estimates that these reports represent only one in 14 cases.

Tip Sheet: Reporting Elder Abuse

Contact Ohio Adult Protective Services: 1-855-644-6277

What types of things are considered abuse?

What is Elder Abuse?

  • Neglect occurs when an individual’s basic needs for safety and well-being (such as medical care, adequate nutrition, socialization) are not being met. This can be through the action or inaction of the individual or another person.
  • Exploitation is the unlawful or improper use of another person’s resources for monetary or personal benefit, profit or gain. People who exploit older adults can range from total strangers to trusted friends and family members.
  • Physical abuse is the intentional use of physical force that results in injury, pain or impairment. It includes pushing, hitting, slapping, pinching and other ways of physically harming a person. In care settings, it can also include placing an individual in incorrect positions, force feeding, restraining or giving medication without the person’s knowledge.
  • Emotional abuse occurs when a person is threatened, humiliated, intimidated or otherwise psychologically hurt. It includes the violation of an adult’s right to make decisions and the loss of his or her privacy.
  • Sexual abuse includes rape or other unwanted, nonconsensual sexual contact. It also can mean forced or coerced nudity, exhibitionism and other non-touching sexual situations.

Factors that raise the risk of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation:
(Source: National Center on Elder Abuse)

  • Lack of support from family, friends and neighbors
  • Dementia
  • Previous experiences of domestic violence and other traumatic events
  • Declining physical health and ability
  • Living with a large number of household members other than a spouse
  • Lower income or poverty
  • Lack of access to - or failure to take advantage of - available community services and supports
  • Age (under 70)
  • Race (African-American)
  • Gender (female)

Learn the warning signs of elder abuse...

Know who to contact if you suspect abuse...

Signs of Possible Elder Abuse

Warning signs of possible elder abuse, neglect or exploitation:

  • Bruises, cuts or other signs of physical harm;
  • Sudden behavioral changes, such as becoming less social;
  • A caregiver who refuses to allow visitors to see the adult alone;
  • Hazardous or unsanitary living conditions;
  • Dehydration, malnutrition or poor personal hygiene;
  • Previously uninvolved relatives showing sudden interest in the adult’s rights, affairs and possessions;
  • Unexplained, sudden transfers of assets or finances to an individual;
  • Unexplained disappearances of funds or valuable possessions;
  • Abrupt changes in a will, financial documents, bank accounts or banking practice; and
  • Over- or under-utilization of prescribed medications or missing medications.

Know who to contact if you suspect abuse...

What is elder abuse?

Call Adult Protective Services - 1-855-APS-OHIO

If you feel that someone is in immediate danger of harm from abuse, neglect or exploitation, call local law enforcement immediately.


The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services supervises the state’s Adult Protective Services program, which helps vulnerable adults age 60 and older who are in danger of harm, are unable to protect themselves and may have no one to assist them. County departments of job and family services receive and investigate reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation and evaluate the need for protective services. To report suspected abuse, call the statewide, toll-free help line at 1-855-644-6277 or contact your county department of job and family services.

The Department of Aging is home to the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, which advocates for people receiving home care, assisted living and nursing home care. Paid and volunteer staff work to resolve complaints about services, help people select a provider and offer information about benefits and consumer rights. To report suspected abuse in a nursing home or assisted living facility or by staff of a home care agency, call the State Ombudsman’s Office toll-free at 1-800-282-1206, or contact your regional long-term care ombudsman program.

Additional resources:

What is elder abuse?

Learn the warning signs of elder abuse...


Missing Older Adults

Ohio has a statewide emergency alert system, managed by the Ohio Attorney General's Office, to aid in the identification and loation of missing adults who are age 65 or older or who are endangered and have a mental impairment. The Missing Adult Alert, patterned after portions of the AMBER Alert and Missing Child Alert, coordinates information to the media and public in a timely manner.

If a loved one has gone missing, please contact local law enforcement (police office, sheriff's office, 9-1-1) immediately.

Once the local law enforcement agency has confirmed that the individual is missing, they may issue a Missing Adult Alert. Alerts are reserved for situations in which the disappearance of the individual poses a credible threat of immediate danger or serious bodily harm or death to the individual. There also must be enough information known about the individual's description and how, when or why they went missing to make the alert effective at helping to locate and recover the individual.

Once activated, alerts are sent to media outlets around the state, posted on electronic billboards and highway message boards in the area of the alert, as well as shared by other means for getting the message out and collecting information about the individual's location.

Learn more about Missing Adult Alerts.

Sign up to receive Missing Adult Alerts via email, text or fax.

Scam Alert!

The Social Security Administration warns of a scam in which callers pretend to represent the agency and attempt to get individuals to take an action or provide personal information. Authorized Social Security representatives do not contact people in this manner. Learn more...


Find Services Where You Live

Area agencies on aging and other local resources can connect elders to community-based services and supports to maintain or increase their independence and help prevent abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Learn about resources and programs to keep older Ohioans safe at home.

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National Suicide Prevention Hotline - 1-800-273-8255
Text "4help" to 741741