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How to Report Signs of Elder Abuse

 Posted on May 22, 2024 in Elder Law

San Antonio estate planning lawyerElder abuse is a serious problem that affects many vulnerable seniors. A Texas lawyer can work closely with elderly clients and their families, and it is crucial for everyone to be aware of the signs of elder abuse and know how to report it if suspected. By taking action, you could help protect an elderly loved one from harm.

Recognizing the Warning Signs

Elder abuse can take many forms, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, and neglect. Some common red flags that may indicate elder abuse include:

  • Unexplained injuries like cuts, bruises, or broken bones
  • Sudden changes in mood or behavior, such as acting fearful, withdrawn, or depressed
  • Poor hygiene, malnutrition, or dehydration
  • Unpaid bills, unusual bank account activity, or changes to important legal documents
  • Bedsores, unattended medical needs, or unsafe and unsanitary living conditions

If you notice any of these warning signs, do not ignore them. Trust your instincts if something seems wrong. The elderly person may be reluctant to speak up out of fear or shame, so it is important to voice your concerns.

Reporting Elder Abuse in Texas

In Texas, the law requires anyone who suspects elder abuse to report it to the proper authorities. If you believe an elderly person is in immediate danger, call 911 or local law enforcement immediately. They can intervene to ensure the senior’s safety.

For non-emergency situations, you can report suspected elder abuse to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). You can also file a report online through the Texas Abuse Hotline Website at

When making a report, provide as many details as possible, including:

  • The elderly person’s name, age, and address
  • The alleged abuser’s name and relationship to the victim
  • The type of abuse you suspect
  • Any evidence of injuries or incidents you have witnessed
  • Names of others who may have knowledge of the situation

You can choose to remain anonymous when filing a report. The law protects those who report suspected abuse in good faith from any civil or criminal liability.

What Happens After a Report is Filed?

Once elder abuse is reported, Adult Protective Services (APS), a division of the DFPS, will open an investigation. They will send a caseworker to assess the situation, interview the elderly person and alleged abuser, and determine if abuse occurred.

If abuse is confirmed, APS will develop a plan to keep the senior safe and prevent further harm. This may involve securing medical care, counseling, or alternative living arrangements. In some cases, the abuser may face criminal charges.

Estate planning lawyers can also assist elderly clients who have been financially exploited. This may include revoking powers of attorney held by abusers, creating new trusts to protect assets, or pursuing civil lawsuits to recover stolen funds.

Contact a San Antonio, TX Estate Planning Lawyer

We all have a responsibility to look out for the elderly members of our community. By knowing how to spot and report signs of elder abuse, you can make a real difference in a vulnerable senior’s life. No one should suffer in silence, so it is important to be vigilant and proactive in protecting our elders from abuse. Call The Law Office of Ryan C. Moe, PLLC at 210-861-6000 for a free consultation with a San Antonio, TX estate planning attorney.

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