Skip to main content

Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation

Elder Abuse/Neglect/Exploitation

More than 73,000 older adults in Michigan are victims of elder abuse. They experience abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The symptoms and treatment of elder abuse are complex and demand a concerted effort to tackle this often unrecognized and unreported social problem. That’s why we brought together dozens of different organizations to work collaboratively to tackle the challenge.

Elder Abuse Resources: 800-24-ABUSE (22873)

female senior elderly patient with caregiver

Warning Signs of Elder Abuse/Neglect/Exploitation

*Source material used with permission from the National Center on Elder Abuse
Dehydration icon - yellow scale on purple background

Physical Signs

  • Dehydration or unusual weight loss
  • Missing medication or medical assistive devices
  • Unexplained injuries or sores
  • Unsanitary living conditions or poor hygiene
  • Unattended medical needs or missed appointments
Withdrawal icon - blue and white person icon back-to-back on purple background

Emotional Signs

  • Unusual changes in behavior or sleep patterns
  • Withdrawal from normal activities
  • Isolation from friends or family
  • Increased anxiety or fear
  • Hesitance to speak in presence of "caregiver"
Unpaid bills icon- paper with "past due" printed on it on a purple background

Financial Signs

  • Unpaid bills (elder adult receives foreclosure warnings, electricity is shut off)
  • Unusual changes in spending patterns (increases in ATM withdrawals, checks made out to cash, or written out of order)
  • Missing household items (cherished heirlooms, expensive tools, or other valuable items)
  • Unexpected changes in wills or property deeds (property deeded/will changed to benefit "new friend")
  • Purchase of large items the elder adult does not use (vehicles when the adult does not drive, timeshare purchases when adult is homebound)

Report Elder Abuse

Notify the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) Adult Protective Services at 855-444-3911, if you suspect elder or vulnerable adult abuse, neglect, or exploitation occurred in:

  • A private residence,
  • An unlicensed setting such as an assisted living facility,
  • An adult foster care home,
  • A home for the aged, or
  • A nursing home where the suspected perpetrator is not an employee of the facility or the resident is on leave from the nursing home.

If you are a mandated reporter, you must report any suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult to Adult Protective Services by calling 855-444-3911.  A mandated reporter is a person who is employed, licensed, registered, or certified to provide health care, educational, social welfare, mental health, or other human services; an employee of an agency licensed to provide health care, educational, social welfare, mental health, or other human services; a law enforcement officer; or an employee of the office of the county medical examiner.

For anyone who is not a mandated reporter, you may still report suspected elder or vulnerable adult abuse, neglect, or exploitation to Adult Protective Services by calling 855-444-3911. To report abuse in a nursing facility, call the Attorney General's Health Care Fraud Division on their statewide hotline, 800-24-ABUSE (800-242-2873).

Health Care Fraud Division
P.O. Box 30218
Lansing, MI 48909

Patient Abuse Complaint Form

Report Elder Abuse Video

Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation

To ensure patient rights are protected, the Health Care Fraud Division reviews, investigates and criminally prosecutes those facilities, employees and individuals who recklessly or intentionally harm citizens entrusted to their care.

Elder and vulnerable adult abuse, neglect and exploitation are behaviors committed against an elder or vulnerable adult who is unable to protect himself or herself due to a mental or physical impairment or due to advanced age.

  • Abuse is harm or threatened harm to an adult's health or welfare caused by another person.
  • Neglect is the inability or failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical care, etc.
  • Exploitation is the misuse of an adult's funds, property or personal dignity (e.g., humiliation, objectification, degradation, dehumanization) by another person.

The perpetrators are often trusted family, friends, neighbors or caregivers. This can occur in the person's home, in the home of another person or in licensed settings such as adult foster care, homes for the aged or nursing homes.

Report Elder Abuse

Document Abuse

IMMEDIATELY report incidents, verbally or in writing, in the nursing home to the administrator, the director of nursing, or the charge nurse of the health care facility.

IMMEDIATELY report applicable situations to Adult Protective Services-MDHHS; the State Police and/or the local police; Attorney General Health Care Fraud Division; Long Term Care Ombudsman; and the Department of Insurance and Financial Services.

Take photographs, if possible, and make written statements concerning:

  • What you observed,
  • When you observed the incident,
  • Who was present, and
  • Any further information that may be of assistance.

Nursing Home Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation

If you suspect abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a resident of a nursing home by another resident or by a nursing home employee notify the following agencies:

  • Attorney General Health Care Fraud Hotline:
    800-24-ABUSE (800-242-2873)
  • Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Bureau of Community and Health Systems Abuse Hotline: 
  • Disability Rights Michigan:
    • Developmental Disabilities: 800-288-5923
    • Mental Illness: 800-288-5923

Nursing Home Staff,  if you know or have reason to believe that someone is using a nursing home resident's assets or benefits for purposes other than the care, needs and wishes of the resident, you may report suspected elder or vulnerable adult exploitation to the Attorney General's Health Care Fraud Division using this online complaint system.  If you have any questions surrounding the complaint process please call, 517-241-6500.

Nursing Home Exploitation Complaint Form


nursing home