Adult Protective Services

Serving Stark County

Looking out for the vulnerable in Stark County.

Adult Protective Services

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates most cases of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation never get reported. Elder abuse victims often lack knowledge about how to seek protection from their abusers. In many cases, they may hesitate to report the crime because they are dependent on their abuser for care, and they may fear retaliation. Coleman clinicians investigate reported abuse, neglect and/or exploitation of seniors 60 and older. 

In Stark County, Coleman is a designated agency for the Department of Job and Family Services. We believe seniors have a right to be safe. We make referrals to health care organizations, social services, legal, law enforcement, housing or other services. Coleman helps secure ongoing assistance and support for older adults determined to be in need of protection. Our goal is to secure the safety of our elder community members while promoting the greatest level of independence and personal decision making possible.

Coleman Can Help with Adult & Elder Abuse 

Abuse can happen to anyone – no matter the person’s age, race, religion or gender. Elder abuse is a serious public health problem in the United States. According to the National Institute on Aging, hundreds of thousands of elder abuse cases occur each year. In fact, 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have experienced abuse. Elder abuse is one of the most overlooked public health hazards in the United States. Victims of abuse are three times more likely than those who weren’t mistreated to die prematurely. 

Even though elder abuse does occur in nursing homes, it happens most often at home. In more than half of elder abuse and neglect cases, the perpetrator is a family member. Two-thirds of perpetrators are adult children or spouses. Elder care abuse in a home setting can be easier to disguise because there are far less checks and balances than there are in nursing homes. And seniors with dementia or other memory problems may try to speak up, but their concerns may not be taken seriously because they appear to be confused.

Elder abuse is a serious problem – it’s either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on where the crime is committed and how extreme it is. Reckless neglect is usually a misdemeanor while an act of violence against a senior may be a felony.

Signs of Abuse

Do you know a senior you suspect is in a high-risk care situation? There are a number of clues that can indicate abuse may be happening. 

Physical Abuse involves injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment with resulting physical harm, pain or mental anguish.

Warning Signs of Physical Abuse:

  • Severe bruises or burns
  • Evidence a senior has been restrained, tied up, or locked up
  • Broken bones or wounds
  • Self-endangering behavior
  • Suicidal acts
  • Poor hygiene
  • Confusion/wandering
  • Refusal of medical treatment
  • Homelessness

Emotional Abuse can involve a caregiver exhibiting controlling behavior, criticism, public humiliation, shaming, blaming, belittling, threats and manipulation toward a senior.

Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse:

  • Depression
  • Increased fear and anxiety
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Withdrawal from normal activities
  • Unusual sleep patterns 

Neglect occurs when an adult or caregiver fails to provide necessary support or services to help a senior avoid physical harm, mental distress or mental illness. 

Warning Signs of Neglect:

  • Dehydration and unexplained weight loss
  • Malnourishment
  • Untreated medical conditions
  • Failure to take medication
  • Dirt, fleas, lice
  • Bedsores
  • Ulcerated sores
  • Fecal/urine odor

Exploitation is a caregiver’s unlawful or improper use of the senior’s resources for the caregiver’s benefit or financial gain.

Signs of Exploitation include misuse of person, funds, property, or possessions.

Elder abuse is a serious problem that can be prevented. Be sure to ask older adults gently, but directly whether they are safe at home. Ask family members whether the caregiver has ever had any problems or complaints, especially involving abuse. Many cases of elder abuse have gone unreported because no one has ever asked about the abuse directly.

Support Our Seniors – If You See Something, Say Something

It takes courage for a family member, friend, or caretaker to report abuse. If you suspect elder abuse, please contact Coleman. If a senior is in immediate, life-threatening danger, call 911.

Coleman’s Adult Protective Service is available in the following counties:


Someone from Coleman will respond to your request within 24 hours. If this is an emergency, please call 9-1-1. If you are in a crisis, call one of Coleman’s crisis hotlines.

Find your crisis hotline here

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