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Warning Signs

Warning Signs

Each year, thousands of Oklahoma elders suffer abuse, neglect and exploitation by family.

Here are some warning signs to watch out for:

Vulnerable Adult

  • Fear
  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Anger
  • Isolation or withdrawal
  • Depression
  • Non-responsiveness, resignation or ambivalence
  • Contradictory statements or implausible stories
  • Hesitation to talk openly
  • Confusion or disorientation


  • Prevents vulnerable adult from speaking to or seeing visitors
  • Anger, indifference, aggressive behavior toward vulnerable adult
  • History of substance abuse, mental illness, criminal behavior or family violence
  • Lack of affection toward vulnerable adult
  • Flirtation or coyness as possible indicator of inappropriate sexual relationship
  • Conflicting accounts of incidents
  • Speaks of vulnerable adult as a burden
  • Believes vulnerable adult could do more self-care than actually capable of

Environmental Signs

  • Accumulations, hoarding
  • Inadequate shelter
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Inadequate or spoiled food
  • Offensive odors
  • Multiple prescription bottles from multiple doctors or pharmacies
  • Inadequate sanitation for people or pets
  • Vermin infestation

Financial Signs

  • Frequent expensive gifts from vulnerable adult to caregiver
  • Vulnerable adult's personal belongings, papers, credit cards missing
  • Numerous unpaid bills
  • A recent will when vulnerable adult seems incapable of writing will
  • Signing over deeds to property
  • Caregiver's name added to bank account
  • Vulnerable adult unaware of monthly income
  • Vulnerable adult signs on loan
  • Frequent checks made out to "cash"
  • Unusual activity in bank account
  • Irregularities on tax return
  • Vulnerable adult unaware of reason for appointment with banker or attorney
  • Caregiver's refusal to spend money on vulnerable adult
  • Signatures on checks or legal documents that do not resemble vulnerable adult's

Physical Signs

  • Injury that has not been cared for properly
  • Injury that is inconsistent with the explanation for its cause
  • Pain when touched
  • Cuts, puncture wounds, burns, bruises, welts
  • Dehydration or malnutrition without illness-related cause
  • Poor skin color
  • Sunken eyes or cheeks
  • Inappropriate administration of medication
  • Soiled clothing or bed
  • Lack of necessities such as food, water or utilities
  • Lack of personal effects or personal items
  • Forced isolation
  • Unpleasant living environment

Make a Report 

If you see something, say something.
Make a report at or call

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