How Can I Help?
and other frequently asked questions
How can I help?
It’s everyone’s business to protect the health and well-being of older adults. Visit an older adult often and talk with them in private. Speak up when something looks or sounds wrong. When in doubt, just call: 1-800-675-8437.
The Elder and Dependent Adult Protection Team (EDAPT) is a partnership between the San Mateo County’s Health System’s Aging and Adult Services, District Attorney’s Office, and County Counsel’s Office committed to raising awareness on how to prevent and protect dependent and older adults from abuse in San Mateo County.
The initiative is offering free trainings on how to prevent older and dependent adult abuse in San Mateo County. Contact Nicole Fernandez to schedule training and learn about:
- Signs and symptoms of elder abuse
- Signs of financial abuse in adult populations
- Senior safety and avoiding scams
- Mandated reporter training
How do I report that someone may be abused?
You can stop and prevent elder abuse. If you are concerned about someone or suspect that a family member, friend, or neighbor may be suffering from abuse, all you need to do is call 1-800-675-8437.
What happens when I call and make a report?
All calls are confidential. A social worker or public health nurse will discuss the situation with you, investigate the situation and develop an intervention and support plan if appropriate with Adult Protective Services (APS).
APS case managers work with the person at risk to develop an appropriate care plan and ensure his/her safety. If there is a concern that the person may be unable to manage his/her own affairs safely, APS may investigate whether there is a need for conservatorship to better help the individual. The person always has the right to refuse service or support.
The TIES line is available for consultation or to provide information and referral services.
If the abuse occurred in a long-term care facility, contact the Long Term Care Ombudsman (650) 780-5707 or visit www.ossmc.org.
How can older and dependent adults protect themselves and prevent abuse?
- Tell someone if you are being abused or neglected—the sooner you speak up the sooner you will get help
- Seek medical help when you need it and tell your doctor if someone is harming you
- Have someone you trust read documents before you sign them
- Keep your social security number and financial information private
- You don’t have to do anything you don’t feel comfortable doing— family, friends, caregivers should not pressure you to do anything you don’t want to
- Check your financial statements frequently and don’t sign blank checks
- Keep your money and valuables out of plain sight
What is a mandated reporter?
Everyone should report suspected abuse of older and dependent adults. California law requires that certain professionals report suspected abuse, whether it is abuse by another person or self-neglect.
The following individuals are required by law (Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15630) to report:
“Any person who has assumed full or intermittent responsibility for care or custody of an elder or dependent adult, whether or not that person receives compensation, including administrators, supervisors, and any licensed staff of a public or private facility that provides care or services for elder or dependent adults, or any elder or dependent adult care custodian, health practitioner, or employee of a county adult protective services agency or a local law enforcement agency is a mandated reporter.”
“Any mandated reporter who, in his or her professional capacity, or within the scope of his or her employment, has observed or has knowledge of an incident that reasonably appears to be physical abuse, abandonment, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect, or is told by an elder or dependent adult that he or she has experienced behavior constituting physical abuse, abandonment, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect, or reasonably suspects abuse shall report the known or suspected instance of abuse by telephone immediately or as soon as possible, and by written report sent within two working days.”
Mandated reporters must report any incident of alleged, suspected, or reasonable suspicion of abuse. As a mandated reporter in a work setting, they are required to give their name. If they report something they learn about outside of work they can make the report anonymously.
All reports should be made as soon as possible by telephone and mail (or fax to Adult Protective Services at 650-341-9789) of the form [link] and at least within two working days of learning the information. Mandated reporters include, but are not limited to:
- Health care practitioners, e.g. doctors, dentists, nurses, therapists, and health care office staff
- Members of the clergy when they receive information about alleged or suspected abuse NOT within the context of a “penitential communication”
- Adult personal care providers, e.g. attendants, day care staff, senior center staff
- Adult and Child Protective Services staff
- Law Enforcement Officers
- Medical Examiners