Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


Resources for friends & family

  If you know a senior or disabled person who is being harmed in any way, either by the actions of other people or through because they cannot care for themselves, call one of the following numbers:
  •  If this is an emergency, immediately call 911

    •For long-term care residents:

    •For all others:

  • More information
   Resources for Prosecutors  
  Prosecutor Manual  
  Resources for Law Enforcement  
   Law Enforcement Manual  
  File a Medicaid Fraud Complaint  

Phone: (360) 586-8888
Fax: (360) 586-8877
Mail:  Office of the Attorney General
Medicaid Fraud Control Unit
PO Box 40114
Olympia, WA  98504

More information on filing complaints


What is a vulnerable adult?

Vulnerable adults are people who  are unable to independently provide for their own basic necessities of life due to:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Disease or
  • Developmental disorders


Vulnerable adults also include:

  1. Adults who reside in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, adult family homes, boarding homes or assisted living facilities or
  2. Those who receive health care or other assistance in providing for the basic necessities of life while residing in their own home.


Examples of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation include:

  • Pushing, hitting, punching a vulnerable adult
  • Shouting at, berating, intimidating, or threatening to harm an elderly person
  • Taking financial advantage of one who is lonely, vulnerable or has memory lapses
  • Taking money an elderly person needs, “borrowing” money with no intention to pay it back, tricking someone into buying something they have no use for
  • Failing to provide goods and services that are necessary to meet the physical, medical or emotional needs of a vulnerable adult, when a person has an oligation to do so
  • Neglecting an elderly person’s physical, medical and emotional needs or
  • Allowing an older adult to neglect their personal needs.


What to look for:

  • Unexplained injuries, bruises, burns, puncture wounds, cuts, sunken eyes and/or welts
  • Excessive fears, withdrawal, agitation
  • Sudden inability to pay bills, buy food or personal items
  • Changes in appetite or unusual weight gain or loss
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Does not know personal finances or
  • Unexplained changes in health.


What is self-neglect and what are the signs?

  • Hoarding
  • Failure to take essential medications or refusal to seek medical treatment for serious illness or injuries
  • Leaving a burning stove unattended
  • Poor hygiene
  • Not wearing suitable clothing for the weather
  • Confusion
  • Inability to attend to housekeeping or
  • Dehydration.


Ways that families and friends can help:

  • Respect and honor your elders
  • Report suspected abuse/mistreatment or self-neglect
  • Find sources of help and use them
  • Visit regularly monitor the well being of elderly neighbors
  • Keep track of medication and doctors’ visits
  • Volunteer to help
  • Realize abuse can happen in your family or neighborhood
  • Speak up when something looks or sounds wrong.


Warnings for older adults:

  • DO NOT live with a person who is violent or who abuses alcohol or drugs
  • If you are abused, mistreated, neglected, please tell others - such as your doctor, the clergy, a friend or family member
  • DO NOT leave cash or valuables out in the open
  • DO NOT give friends or family money if you need the money to live on
  • Ask someone you trust to read a document before you sign it
  • DO NOT allow anyone to keep details of your finances or property away from you.

Additional information regarding reporting abuse and neglectreporting Medicaid Fraud and/or abuse, protecting seniors and Medicaid Fraud is also available.