Recognizing the Signs…

Emotional Abuse 

  • Threatening, belittling, or controlling caregiver behavior that you witness
  • The caregiver isolates the elder: refusing to allow access to visitors, mail phone, etc.
  • Uncharacteristic behavior such as withdrawal or changes in alertness.

Sexual Abuse

  • Bruises around breasts or genitals
  • Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases or unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
  • Torn, stained, or bloody clothing

Neglect by Caregivers or Self-Neglect

  • Unusual weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration
  • Untreated physical problems, such as bed sores
  • Unsanitary living conditions: dirt, bugs, soiled bedding and clothes
  • Poor hygiene, lack of clean or appropriate clothing
  • Unsafe living conditions (no heat or running water, faulty electrical wiring, fire hazards)
  • Desertion of the elder at a public place

Financial Exploitation

  • Significant or unauthorized withdrawals from the elder’s accounts
  • Sudden changes in the elder’s financial condition
  • Items or cash missing from the household
  • Suspicious changes in wills, power or attorney, titles, and policies
  • Addition of names to the elder’s signature card
  • Unpaid bills or lack of medical care, although the elder has enough money to pay for them
  • Financial activity the elder couldn’t have done, such as ATM withdrawals by a bedridden account holder
  • Unnecessary services, goods, or subscriptions
  • Unusual change in spending habits

Scams

  • Constant phone calls from various phone numbers
  • Elder/adult suddenly wiring money
  • Large accumulation of lottery mail
  • Elder/adult secretive about a relationship with someone they have not met in person

Physical Abuse

  • Signs of being restrained, such as rope marks on wrists
  • Unexplained signs of injury such as bruises, welts, scars, broken bones or sprains
  • Over or under medication
  • Broken eyeglasses or frame
  • Caregiver’s refusal to allow you to see the person alone
  • Report of drug overdose or apparent failure to take medication regularly
  • Physical or chemical restraints for caregiver’s convenience

Protecting Yourself…

Do:

  • Stay Active with your local senior center. It can be a valuable source of information.
  • Plan for your care as you age. Identify reliable people who can provide assistance if needed.
  • Review your finances regularly. Be extremely cautious when selecting “trustworthy” individuals to help manage your affairs when needed.
  • Participate in community activities. Volunteering is a great way to have contact with others and make friends.
  • Keep your power of attorney for finance and health care in order and select a trustworthy person(s).

Don’t:

  • Don’t put off preparing your future physical and financial needs.
  • Don’t accept personal care from anyone in exchange for property or assets without a lawyer or other trusted advocate to witness the transaction.
  • Don’t allow others to keep details of your finances from you.
  • Don’t give out personal or financial information to people you don’t know, especially over the phone.
  • Don’t sign legal documents that you do not understand.

Reporting…

  • Dial 911 to report elder abuse or neglect to the Police NOW if the abuse is immediate and life-threatening.
  • Elder Abuse Hotline at 805-568-2442 to report allegations of abuse when you are unsure of where to call.
  • Adult Protective Services, County of Santa Barbara, 844-751-6729 if you suspect elder abuse in the community. 
  • Long Term Care Ombudsman 805-922-1236 report suspected abuse occurring at board and care homes, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. Statewide Ombudsman after-hours crisis line: 800-231-4024.

Resources…

General Information

  • Senior Connection, a senior information & assistance service 1-805-928-2552
  • District Attorney Elder Abuse Unit/Fraud Hotline 805-568-2442 In Spanish 805-346-7454
  • Santa Barbara County DA Victim-Witness Assistance Program 
    • Santa Barbara 805-568-2400 
    • Santa Maria 805-346-7529 
    • Lompoc 805-737-7910
  • Public Guardian 805-568-2790
  • Long Term Care Ombudsman 805-922-1236
  • Alzheimer’s Association 1-800-272-3900
  • Adult Protective Services 1-844-751-6729 
    • Santa Barbara 805-681-4550 
    • Santa Maria 805-346-8303 
    • Lompoc/Santa Ynez 808-737-6020
  • To report suspected elder/dependent adult abuse 844-751-6729

Legal Assistance

  • Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County 
    • Santa Maria 805-922-9909 
    • Santa Barbara 805-963-6754 
    • Lompoc 805-736-6582
  • Lawyer Referral Service 805-569-9400
  • California Rural Legal Assistance 805-922-4563

Domestic Violence

  • Domestic Violence Solutions for Santa Barbara County 
    • Santa Barbara 805-964-5245 
    • Santa Maria 805-925-2160 
    • Santa Ynez 805-686-4390 
    • Lompoc 805-736-0965

Mental Wellness

  • Family Services Agency of Santa Barbara County 
    • Santa Maria 805-928-1707 
    • Santa Barbara 805-965-1001 
    • Lompoc 805-735-4376
  • Center for Successful Aging – Senior Peer Counseling 805-898-8080
  • Pacific Pride Foundation Countywide 805-963-3636
  • Tribal Health Clinic, Santa Ynez 805-688-7070

Veteran Services

  • Veterans Service Office, County of Santa Barbara 
    • South County 805-681-4500 
    • North County 805-354-6000
  • V.A. Caregiver Support Line 855-260-3274

Financial Fraud and Exploitation Resources

Credit Card Fraud

If you are a victim of identity theft, or you want to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, call these agencies to freeze new accounts being opened in your name. Also, for disputes regarding your credit record.

  • Experian: www.experian.com 888-397-3742
  • Equifax: www.equifax.com 800-525-6285
  • TransUnion: www.transunion.com 800-680-7289
  • Free Annual Credit Report: Request a free credit report: www.annualcreditreport.com877-322-8228

Mail Fraud

  • U.S. Postal Inspection Services
    Report mail fraud: http://postalinspectors.uspis.gov877-876-2455
  • Opt-out from unsolicited mail, pre-approved credit card, and insurance offers:888-567-8688
  • Direct Marketing Association Inc.
    Remove name from mailing & emailing list: www.dmachoice.org

Telephone Fraud

  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
    Telemarketing fraud/identity theft877-382-4357
  • Do Not Call Registry.
    Stop telemarketers from calling you: www.donotcall.gov888-382-1222

Internet Crime/Spam

  • Internet Crime Complaint Centerwww.ic3.gov

Broker/Investment Fraud

  • California Department of Business OversightSeniors Against Investment Fraud (SAIF)866-275-2677
  • Concerns about brokers, investment advisers financial planners, mortgage lenders and bill payers: www.corp.ca.gov
  • Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) BrokerCheck Check the background of a broker or brokerage: 800-289-9999

Consumer Issues

  • California Department of Consumer AffairsCheck licenses for doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals: www.dca.ca.gov800-952-5210
  • California Department of InsuranceInsurance concerns: www.insurance.ca.gov800-927-4357
  • California Department of Real EstateReal estate concerns: www.dre.ca.gov213-620-2072
  • California Public Utilities CommissionUtility complaints: www.cpuc.ca.gov/puc800-649-7570
  • Contractors State License BoardConcerns regarding licensed and unlicensed contractors: www.cslb.ca.gov800-321-2752
  • Better Business Bureau of the Tri-CountiesFosters honest & responsive relationships between businesses and consumers. Dispute resolution. Community education. Scam tracker. www.bbb.org805-963-8657 

The mission of the Elder & Dependent Adult Abuse Prevention Council of Santa Barbara County is to prevent elder and dependent adult abuse and to develop a comprehensive and collaborative community response to abuse in Santa Barbara County.