DHHS Shares Tips to Help Protect Aging Individuals in Nebraska


June 15 commemorates World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), a day for people and organizations across Nebraska to get informed and take action to protect aging individuals against elder abuse. Elder abuse refers to intentional or negligent acts by a caregiver or trusted individual that causes harm to an aging individual.

Elder abuse can include:

  • Neglect or isolation
  • Physical abuse
  • Financial abuse and exploitation

“It is vital to spread awareness and to seek opportunities to help protect our fellow Nebraskans of all ages,” said Tony Green, the Interim Director of Behavioral Health for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). “One of our goals is to help educate aging individuals in communities across Nebraska and provide them with appropriate resources to help them feel safe.”

Many victims are afraid to speak out because the abuser is often a family member or a caregiver. Adult Protective Services is dedicated to fixing situations like these that affect vulnerable adults.

Signs of elder abuse include:

  • Injuries that can not be explained or the explanation does not make sense
  • Fractures, bruises, cuts, or burns
  • Changes in behaviors around certain individuals
  • Unpaid bills despite having enough money to pay them
  • ATM withdrawals that do not match the person’s lifestyle or ability
  • Forged checks or checks for services not used by the person
  • Missing or stolen medications
  • Lack of food, proper clothing, shelter, or medicine
  • Unsafe shelter (rotting floors, exposed wiring, fire hazards)
  • Lack of proper supervision
  • Poor hygiene (untrimmed nails, matted hair, odor, or soiled clothing)
  • Untreated bedsores or other untreated medical issues

Sadly, elder abuse is widespread. Past studies have found that 1 in 10 older Americans experience elder abuse. It is also significantly under-identified and under-reported. A recent study estimated that for every case known to programs and agencies, 24 cases were unknown. In addition, the FBI estimated financial abuse and exploitation of older Americans costs more than $3 billion in losses annually.

If Nebraskans have reason to believe a vulnerable adult is being abused, neglected, or exploited, call the 24-hour toll-free hotline at 1-800-652-1999 OR local law enforcement. Language lines are available for non-English speakers. The Nebraska Child and Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


  • Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Be direct, and rude if you have to. Do not be afraid to hang up the phone or shut the door on unwanted solicitations.
  • If someone calls claiming to be affiliated with Medicare/Medicaid to provide you with additional benefits, it’s a scam. Hang up and report them at 1-800-Medicare and
  • Never pay money upfront to collect a prize.
  • Beware that wiring money is just like sending cash. Once you send it, it is gone for good. The same applies to sending money using prepaid cards.
  • Consult a trusted friend, family member, banker, or advisor if you have doubts or questions about an offer or business.
  • On landline phones, strengthen Caller ID with the addition of at least two calling features Anonymous Call Rejection (*77) and Selective Call Rejection (*60). Virtually all telephone carriers offer these services free or for a nominal additional fee. On mobile phones, use built-in features, carrier-provided features, and third-party call-blocking apps to stop unwanted calls.
  • Order your free credit report at least once a year through www.annualcreditreport.comAccessing your credit report often is important, that is why Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion offer free credit reports.
  • Call law enforcement immediately if you think you have been victimized.