The first step to stopping the abuse of an elderly person is reporting it to the proper authorities. If you suspect something is going on, even if you feel that reporting it could lead to a bad situation, you should still report it. In some cases, people may think that by reporting the situation they will cause harm to caregivers or others, but the reality is that the situation will never end if you do not tell the authorities about it. How you report the abuse in California depends on the situation.

The Institute on Aging explains if there is an immediate physical threat to the elder, then you need to report the abuse to law enforcement right away. In other situations, there are various agencies you may contact. You can report home health care service workers for abuse to the California Department of Health Care Services. For issues involving Medicare or Medi-Cal patients, you can call the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse Hotline. There is also an online reporting form.

You can call the elder abuse hotline for your county or the county where the victim lives. If the person lives in a care facility, you also should report the situation to the long-term care ombudsman in the county of the facility.

Most hotlines available operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You should have no trouble reaching someone to speak with about the situation. You should explain in detail what you witnessed and who you believe to be the abuser. Make sure to provide as much information as possible to speed along the investigation and action of the agency you contact. This information is for education and is not legal advice.