3The Interview Ask all family, caregivers and others to leave. Begin with orienting information.Address the victim by name.Indicate that you come as a friend.Speak in a low conversational tone.
4Posture Face the person and look them in the eye. Ask permission to sit near the person to be at eye level.Never tower over an older person.
5Eliminate Environmental Distractions Close windows to traffic.Ask to turn off TV or radio.Multiple stimuli make it difficult for victim to concentrate.
6Assistive devicesAsk if the victim needs hearing aid, glasses, or dentures.Do not raise your voice. This may cause victim to be afraid.
7RelaxSmile and relax. Dementia patients are especially sensitive to feelings.
8Slow Speak slowly in short, simple sentences. Be patient. Give time to respond.Don’t interrupt.
9ListenListen.Don’t interrupt. But if the victim is having trouble “word finding,” use examples.
10Be active Ask for clarification when needed. If you see signs of abuse the victim is not talking about, ask questions, such as “did someone do this to you?” and watch their eyes.
11FeelingsAcknowledge feelings. One way is to ask “feelings” questions, such as “are you angry?”
12Touch A simple touch can convey caring and security. In some cultures, touch is considered intrusive.If helping a person into a chair, ask permission first. Then use a light touch.
13Look – Observe - SmellObserve victims’ body language. If a caregiver is alleged to be abuser, invite them to join you and observe the victim’s reactions and comfort level.Observe obvious bruises and body marks.Note body odor, dirty clothing, body or environment for indications of neglect.
14Using DistractionIf the victim becomes agitated, distract him to move his attention to something else.
15TipsInvestigate further: bed sores, bruises, lacerations, dehydration, malnutrition, over-medication, grab marks, and caregiver giving homeopathic remedies.Observe interactions between the alleged victim and the caregiver, especially when you reunite them.Does the caregiver resist letting you speak with the senior alone? Does he answer for the senior?
16Document for use at trial: Observations of the senior,Observations of the caregiver,What the senior tells you coupled with their emotional state at the time of telling,Whatever the caregiver says to you, andPhotograph injuries and general condition of the senior.
17If you’re unsure,Ask other experts for help. This includes ER doctors, social workers, or APS.Not all cases of neglect are criminal. Social service agencies can often help families who unwittingly neglect seniors. Refer.
18Referrals Area agency on aging Adult Protective Services District Attorney’s officeEldercare locator, for all elder services