There may be times when you suspect an elderly person is being abused, exploited or neglected; what do you do? Under Connecticut law, services are available to protect that person through Elderly Protective Services which is administered by the Department of Social Services.  For purposes of this program, an elderly person is defined as someone who is 60 years of age or older.  The law provides that an elderly person is in need of protective services if that person cannot perform or obtain the necessary services for the person’s physical and/or mental health.  This would include, but is not limited to, needing to move to a safer environment, assistance with personal hygiene, needing food to prevent malnutrition, needed protection from maltreatment or stopping financial exploitation.  This includes elderly people in long-term care facilities where you suspect abuse and/or neglect by the facility or others.

If you believe that an elderly person is being exploited, being abused mentally and/or physically, is unable to care for himself or herself (self-neglect) or has been abandoned you can make a referral to Elderly Protective Services by calling 1.888.385.4225 (in-state) or 1.800.203.1234 (out of state) during business hours or in an after hour emergency, calling 2-1-1 in state.  Although you have to provide your name, anonymity is protected unless you give your permission to disclose it or if there is a resulting judicial proceeding.

Certain individuals are required to report elderly individuals to Elderly Protective Services if they either suspect or believe the elderly person is in need of protection.  The report is to be made within 72 hours after he or she suspected or believed that there was abuse, exploitation, neglect or abandonment or in need of protective services.  Those individuals include, but are not limited to, physicians, residents and/or interns in a hospital, surgeons, registered nurses, nursing home administrators, any staff person in a nursing home, psychologist, or physical therapist.  For a complete list of mandatory reporters see C.G.S. §17b-451.

If you suspect that someone at least 60 years of age is being abused, exploited (which can include financial exploitation), neglected or abandoned, you can help protect that individual by contacting Elderly Protective Services.

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