World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was created to shine a light on the problems of physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders. The Board of El Paso County Commissioners at its regular meeting Thursday, June 7, recognized June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day with a Proclamation.
“Abuse, neglect and exploitation is a tragedy inflicted on vulnerable senior citizens and is an ever-increasing problem that crosses all socio-economic boundaries,” said Commissioner Peggy Littleton as she read the Proclamation into the record. “Combating mistreatment of senior citizens will improve the quality of life for all senior citizens in El Paso County and will allow them to live as independently as possible and contribute to the life and vibrancy of our County.”
In 2017, there were 3,115 reports to El Paso County Adult Protective Services and 3,645 call screens to Colorado Springs Police Department.
El Paso County Department of Human Services Executive Director Julie Krow praised the Adult Services team.
“Each day, Department of Human Services staff work hard to keep seniors safe and connect them with resources,” she said. “They have to work in difficult situations, dealing with a variety of challenges. It is so important to keep our elders safe.”
DHS staff were praised for their work.
“The work you do is so difficult and our community can be proud you have such a great team,” said Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez, Jr.
The Colorado Department of Human Services monitors certain data points for all counties, including Timeliness of initial response to new reports, investigations, and monthly contacts.
“El Paso County is one of the best, if not the best in the state,” Krow said.
Self-neglect, caretaker neglect and exploitation are the types of cases DHS deals with most often, followed by physical abuse.
El Paso County Adult Protective Services receives significantly more referrals and serves significantly more community members than any other county” said Andrew Bunn, DHS Adult & Family Services Manager. “A big part of these numbers is due to the expanded outreach that APS conducts. The program can only serve to the extent that we are made aware of abuse, neglect and exploitation; which is why outreach is specifically laid out in the county’s strategic plan.”
The Proclamation also recognized the El Paso County Pikes Peak Elder Abuse Coalition ((PPEAC), a collaborative effort among regional agencies, nonprofits and businesses. Members play a proactive role in finding ways to help elders who may be abused, neglected or exploited, including setting up an emergency elder shelter program.
El Paso County DHS has partnered with Silver Key and others in the Pikes Peak Elder Abuse Coalition (PPEAC) to host a special event to teach seniors and their caregivers about recognizing abuse and mistreatment and taking preventative measures.
The event for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, June 15, at Silver Key Senior Services Community Room, 1655 S. Murray Blvd., Colorado Springs, CO 80916. Presentations include segments on financial exploitation and scams, signs of abuse, decision-making authority and caregiver care.