Each year, thousands of Oklahoma adults suffer abuse, neglect and exploitation. Many victims are elderly, frail and vulnerable, cannot help themselves, and depend on others to meet their basic needs. When someone is concerned about the well-being of an elderly friend, neighbor or relative, Adult Protective Services specialists listen and respond. APS specialists, part of the Field Operations Division, visit individuals who are elderly or disabled to determine whether the individual is a vulnerable adult and whether maltreatment occurred. The program helps vulnerable adults and their caretakers find and obtain services. Services provided by APS specialists were voluntary in 98 percent of the investigations and when a court ordered, involuntary services were provided to the other 2 percent. Involuntary services may only be provided for vulnerable adults who lack decision making abilities and are in life endangering situations. Vulnerable adults were determined to retain decision making capabilities in 61 percent of the completed investigations.
The Aging Services Division’s Ombudsman Program serves residents in Oklahoma’s long-term care facilities, including nursing facilities, assisted living and similar adult care homes. An ombudsman helps improve the quality of life and the quality of care available to long-term care facility residents. The ombudsman is a person who receives complaints from residents, their friends or relatives and attempts to resolve those complaints within the facility.