Adult Protective Services (APS) is the division of Social Services that handles reports of suspected abuse or neglect of adults and elders. APS works with individuals who, in addition to other criteria, are “unable to meet their essential needs for food, shelter, clothing, medical care, are unable to secure entitlements due to them, or are unable to protect themselves from physical or mental injury, neglect, maltreatment, or financial exploitation”.
In 2017, financial exploitation accounted for 11% of Allegany County APS referrals. While the data itself is concerning, most cases are never reported; the cost staggering. Financial exploitation erodes the adult’s independence and family supports. Elders once wealthy and independent have to utilize public assistance; worse yet some have lost their life-long homes. When exploitation happens within the family, elders can lose the support of family caregivers at a time when their need for family support is the greatest.
Financial exploitation occurs for a number of reasons; sometimes the motive is insidious; but often it is a lack of education about the responsibilities of managing an elder’s finances. Prevention is fundamental. In Allegany County the Elder Abuse Prevention Committee (EAPC) and our Enhanced Multi-Disciplinary Team (E-MDT) are committed to preventing and responding to allegations of elder abuse and financial exploitation. The EAPC facilitates confidential case reviews and outreach planning to address and enhance the community’s knowledge of elder abuse. The E-MDT is a collaboration of agencies who work together to offer a coordinated and comprehensive response for complex financial exploitation cases. Our local E-MDT has developed a rack card that will be used state-wide as a tool to prevent financial exploitation by Powers of Attorney.
You can find more information about Adult Protective Services here or call (585) 268-9316. To report the potential abuse of an adult call (585) 268-9319. Allegany County Department of Social Services is a member of Partners for Prevention in Allegany County (PPAC). Remember, “Prevention Works.”
Belinda Schlafer, LMHC
Adult Protective Services