Protecting vulnerable Oregonians
Abuse of older people and adults with disabilities is a societal problem that is getting worse with the aging of the population. Education about the risks, along with effective investigation of abuse, is essential to prevent abuse of vulnerable Oregonians.
What is elder abuse?
Elder abuse includes physical harm, failure to provide basic care, abandonment or involuntary seclusion, unwanted sexual contact, verbal or emotional abuse, neglect, self-neglect, wrongful restraint and financial exploitation. Abuse can happen in a person's own home or the home of family or friends. It can also occur in a professional care setting such as a nursing facility, a residential care facility, an assisted living facility, an adult foster home, a retirement home or a room and board home. Learn more about types of abuse and warning signs.
How is DHS protecting people?
- Establishment of a statewide Abuse Reporting hotline - 1-855-503-SAFE. Reports made to this line go to a local Adult Protective Services office for thorough investigation.
- Implementation of a Centralized Abuse Management system to standardize abuse investigations statewide to improve the data available on abuse and allow for better tracking of perpetrators who seek out multiple victims.
- Expansion of an online search tool so that Oregonians can research the compliance history (including abuse complaints) of a licensed long-term care provider.
- Requirements for comprehensive background checks for individuals seeking to work in long-term care services and supports, including agents who provide referrals for services.
- Mandates for long-term care referral agents to register with the state and to follow disclosure and conduct rules.
- Implementation of stronger training requirements for care workers to ensure they understand dementia.
- Development of training and instructional tools for long-term care providers including the Abuse Reporting and Investigation Guide.
- Imposition of increased civil monetary penalties for elder or adult abuse in licensed long-term care settings as a deterrent.
- State funding for Oregon Care Partners, a collaboration through which caregivers (paid or unpaid family caregivers) can receive free training.
- Information on resources and supports provided through the Aging and Disability Resource Connection. Services provided by the ADRC include Options Counseling to help older adults and their families determine the most appropriate options to meet their needs.
- DHS participation in Multidisciplinary Teams with law enforcement, medical providers, and others to protect vulnerable individuals.
How many people are impacted by elder abuse?
Nationally, elder abuse impacts 5 million individuals each year or 1 in 10 people over the age of 60. Annually, in Oregon, there are more than 1,000 cases of elder abuse in licensed long-term care settings and more than 3,100 cases of elder abuse in the community.