People with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are especially vulnerable
because the disease may prevent them from reporting the abuse or even
recognizing it. They also may fall prey to criminals who take
advantage of their cognitive impairment.
Adult Protective Services (APS), a division of the County's Aging & Independence Services, is the designated agency to accept reports of suspected abuse of elders and dependent adults who live in private homes, apartments, or hotels, or in facilities when the alleged abuser is not a resident or staff member. APS is responsible for investigating reported cases of elder and vulnerable adult abuse and for providing victims with treatment and protective services.
APS serves adults 65 and older and dependent adults 18 and older, who are harmed, or threatened with harm, to ensure their right to safety and dignity. APS investigates elder and dependent adult abuse, including cases of neglect and abandonment, as well as physical, sexual and financial abuse.
If a situation appears to be life threatening or a crime is in progress, call 9-1-1 or your local law enforcement.If you believe elder or dependent abuse has occurred, call Adult Protective Services at 1-800-510-2020, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Outside the County of San Diego call 1-800-339-4661.
If you are concerned that your loved one is wandering or may get lost please refer to the Safety & Wandering section of this website for resources to help keep your loved one safe.
The Long Term Care Ombudsman program advocates for residents in Long Term Care Facilities, such as nursing homes, as well as investigates abuse in other licensed facilities.
An Ombudsman listens to concerns, provides information and assistance when requested and will investigate and resolve complaints related to care or personal rights.
Contact the Long Term Care Ombudsman at the number at (858) 560-2507.
An Ombudsman Can Help with the Following:
Rights are protected by federal and state laws.
Mandated reporters, such as health and social service
professionals, are able to report suspected elder or dependent adult
abuse online through the following URL:
The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office has a team of prosecutors, investigators and paralegals who investigate and prosecute crimes committed against residents of various types of facilities. They also aim to raise public awareness of these deplorable crimes against the especially vulnerable and educate the community on reporting and preventing elder abuse. To report suspected abuse in facilities, call the San Diego District Attorney Facility Elder Abuse reporting line: 619-531-3342.
Don’t Get Hooked
As a result of the severity of functional and cognitive impairment and reliance on surrogate decision-making, individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are at increased risk for financial exploitation or money mismanagement. Aging and Independence Services partnered with the District Attorney’s Office and developed a Don’t Get Hooked Scam Prevention Toolkit and hosted various community forums throughout the County of San Diego. The Don’t Get Hooked Toolkit was translated into Spanish and included culturally and linguistically appropriate terms and situations.
For more information in Spanish,
click on the icon below:
For more information in English,
click on the icon below:
There are many types of abuse that can occur. The following list outlines some of the more common types of abuse.
Physical: Direct beatings, lack of medical care or overmedication, sexual exploitation
Abandonment: Desertion or willful forsaking by anyone having responsibility for care
Isolation: Preventing a dependent adult from receiving mail, telephone calls, visitors
Financial: Theft, misuse of funds or property, extortion, duress, fraud
Neglect: Denial of food, clothing, shelter, health care. Or unable to provide basic needs
Self-neglect: Malnutrition, being unkempt, unmet medical needs, unpaid bills
Mental suffering: Verbal assaults, threats, fear
The following items are possible warning signs that abuse might be occurring to an older or disabled adult. If you observe some or all of these occurring with an older or disabled adult you know, consider alerting Adult Protective Services.
Injury that is inconsistent with the explanation for its cause
The elder or dependent adult has recently become confused or disoriented
The caregiver shows anger, indifference, aggressive behavior toward the person
Personal belongings, papers, credit cards are missing
Hesitation from the elder to talk openly
The caregiver has a history of substance abuse, mental illness, criminal behavior or family violence
Lack of necessities, such as food, water, utilities, medications and medical care
Another person's name added to the client's bank account or important documents, or frequent checks made out to CASH