Protective Services

Elder abuse and neglect happen all too often, but we’re doing something about these problems. Our Protective Services team investigates reports of elder abuse, caregiver neglect, and self-neglect, and intervenes when possible to offer older adults a choice to live in safe, supportive environments, with access to the help and services they need.

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse refers to intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or trusted individual that lead to, or may lead to, the harm of a vulnerable older adult.  It takes many forms:

  • Physical (including domestic violence)
  • Financial exploitation
  • Caretaker neglect or abandonment
  • Emotional, psychological, or verbal
  • Sexual
  • Self-neglect

What are some warning signs?

  • The elder:
    Seems isolated or withdrawn
    Experiences unusual weight loss
    Has a sudden change in financial situation
    Has bedsores, unattended medical needs, or poor hygiene
    Has bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and/or burns
    Seems fearful or confused
  • The caregiver’s behavior toward the senior is belittling, threatening, or overly controlling.

When intervention is necessary, our team provides intensive casework services to older adults and their families.  Our Elder-at-Risk program evaluates self-neglect situations, when an elder is having difficulty maintaining their independence at home.  Help is available 24 hours a day through the state’s Elder Abuse Hotline:  1-800-922-2275.  All referrals are treated confidentially—we never disclose who requested help for an elder—and unless there are questions about competency or outside pressure, individuals can always decline help.

How do I report elder abuse?  

Reporting Elder Abuse:  1-800-922-2275

If you suspect that an older adult is being mistreated or is neglecting their own care, you should immediately report your suspicions.  Some people—like first responders, medical professionals, and social workers—are mandated reporters, but anyone can and should report suspicions of elder abuse.  Except in rare cases, when referral to the District Attorney is necessary or as requested through court orders, the identity of the reporter is always kept confidential.

The state’s Executive Office of Elder Affairs staffs an Elder Abuse Hotline to simplify the process for reporting.  All calls (day or night, 7 days a week) go directly to the Massachusetts-based call center (1-800-922-2275) regardless of the where the reporter or the elder lives.  While the initial intake is centralized, all reports are referred to, and handled by, local Protective Services agencies like GLSS for screening, investigation, and service planning.

Download a Mandated Reporter Form

Program Brochure

Clinical and Protective Services Brochure

Clinical and Protective Services Programs

To download, click the Clinical and Protective Services Programs brochure.

An Older Woman Sitting in a Chair with a Cat

Who is this service for?

This is a free, state-mandated service for older adults who are experiencing abuse or neglect (including self-neglect) in Lynn, Lynnfield, Nahant, Saugus, and Swampscott.

Where can I get more information?

Call 781-599-0110 and ask for Protective Services.

To learn more about aging services in Massachusetts, call 1-800-AGE-INFO (1-800-243-4636) or visit 800ageinfo.com.