World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an opportunity to shine a light on the problems of physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders. An event Friday, June 17, will give seniors and community members knowledge and tools to prevent abuse and neglect.
El Paso County Department of Human Services (DHS), Silver Key and others in the Pikes Peak Elder Abuse Coalition (PPEAC) work collaboratively year-round to help protect a vulnerable segment of the population. Agencies and nonprofits in the region want to make sure everyone has the knowledge to help seniors and at-risk adults who may need help.
At Friday’s event, keynote speaker Dr. Sheri Gibson will present on Building Strong Supports for our aging population. Multiple agencies and entities will be on hand to share information and tools to prevent abuse and neglect of at-risk adults.
- WHAT: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – Building Strong Support for Elders
- WHEN: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday, June 17, 2022
- WHERE: Area Agency on Aging, 14 South Chestnut St., Colorado Springs, CO 80905
As a region, El Paso County cares about vulnerable populations, and that support is evident in the ongoing work of DHS Adult Protective Services staff and County leadership. The Board of El Paso County Commissioners at its regular meeting Tuesday, June 14, recognized June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day with a Proclamation.
“Abuse, neglect and exploitation inflicted on vulnerable senior citizens is an ever-increasing problem that crosses all socio-economic boundaries,” said Commissioner Holly Williams 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 2021, there were about 3,300 reports to El Paso County Adult Protective Services. This is down from nearly 4,000 in 2019 – the year before the pandemic. Self-neglect, caretaker neglect and exploitation are the types of cases DHS deals with most often, followed by physical abuse.
“Although the critical work of adult protection continued throughout the pandemic, we know it impacted how this vulnerable group interacts with others,” said Aric Bidwell, Adult and Family Services Manager in DHS. “The unfortunate truth is that this group and population is often isolated from others for a variety of reasons. It’s important as a community that we do not forget about these members and that we take the time to check in on them and ensure they have all that is needed for a full and meaningful life.”
Commissioners thanked DHS staff for their efforts dealing with the challenges that many families face as family members age.
The video segment of the Commissioners meeting is posted online.
If you want to learn more about the process of Adult Protective Services process and mandatory reporting, visit https://humanservices.elpasoco.com/adult-protective-services/.