Who is a vulnerable adult?
A vulnerable adult is a person age 18 or above who has physical or mental conditions which cause the need for a guardian as defined by law (Title 30 O.S.), or whose physical or mental impairments are less disabling but still prevent the adult from independently managing all of his or her own affairs or protecting him- or herself from maltreatment by others.
Vulnerable adults retain all the same rights and responsibilities as other adults until a court determines otherwise. Parents do not have the legal right to make decisions for their vulnerable adult children unless a court order or other legal document gives them that right. The same is true for adult children who wish to make decisions for their vulnerable parents.
What is adult maltreatment?
Adult maltreatment can happen to any vulnerable adult. It reaches across all ethnic and economic groups. Adult maltreatment can take any of the specific forms defined in section 10-103 of Title 43A of the Oklahoma Statutes
ABUSE is causing or allowing infliction of physical pain, injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, unreasonable restraint or confinement, or mental anguish OR deprivation of nutrition, clothing, shelter, health care or other care or services without which serious physical or mental injury is likely to occur by a caretaker or other person responsible for providing services to a vulnerable adult.
VERBAL ABUSE is the use of words, sounds, gestures, actions, behaviors or other communication by a person responsible for providing services to a vulnerable adult that are likely to cause a reasonable person to experience humiliation, intimidation, fear, shame or degradation.
NEGLECT is failure to provide protection, failure to provide adequate shelter, nutrition, health care or clothing, or causing or permitting harm or risk of harm through the action, inaction or lack of supervision by someone providing direct services to a vulnerable adult.
FINANCIAL NEGLECT means repeated instances by a caretaker or other person who has assumed the role of financial management of failure to use the resources available to restore or maintain the health and physical well-being of a vulnerable adult, including but not limited to:
- Squandering or negligently mismanaging the money, property, or accounts of a vulnerable adult;
- Refusing to pay for necessities or utilities in a timely manner; or
- Providing substandard care to a vulnerable adult despite the availability of adequate financial resources.
SELF NEGLECT is the action or inaction of a vulnerable adult that causes the adult to fail to meet essential requirements for his or her own physical and mental health and safety due to the adult’s lack of awareness or lack of ability.
EXPLOITATION is improper use of a vulnerable adult’s financial, real or personal resources for the benefit of another person through the use of undue influence, coercion, harassment, duress, deception, false representation or false pretense.
SEXUAL EXPLOITATION is a caretaker causing, allowing, or encouraging a vulnerable adult to engage in prostitution or lewd, obscene, or pornographic photographing, filming or depiction of the vulnerable adult.