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June 15 proclaimed World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Posted on 06/15/2017
June 15 proclaimed World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

The Weld County Board of Commissioners proclaimed June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This day is dedicated to raising awareness about the growing problem of elder abuse and neglect in countries all over the world in order to engage more active support for older adults.

The U.S. Administration on Aging estimates that as many as 1 in 10 older Americans are abused or neglected each year. Elder abuse can be financial, emotional, physical or sexual, and the consequences are grave: older adults who are abused are twice as likely to be hospitalized, four times as likely to go into nursing homes and three times as likely to die. While studies show that most abusers are family members, trusted professionals or even strangers may also target older adults. Abuse can happen in any setting and it can happen to anyone.

“The Board would like to thank the Weld County Area Agency on Aging Adult Protective Services team for working each day to support and protect our at-risk elders,” said Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer, who serves as the commissioner coordinator for the Department of Human Services. “Each of us has a moral responsibility to get involved so that people in our community can live safely and with dignity as they age, free from all forms of abuse. Older adults are vital, contributing members of our society, and their mistreatment diminishes us all.”

The aging population of Weld County is rapidly increasing and is projected to increase significantly over the next thirty years, which will create a larger group of at-risk elders in our county. We all have a role to play in protecting our neighbors and valued members of our society. Creating a supportive, inclusive community is essential to preventing elder abuse. It starts with one person and one action – no act is too small. Be a good neighbor and talk with older adults near you, or be a friendly visitor to a senior center. Be aware and alert for the possibility of abuse, and educate yourself and others about the warning signs of abuse, neglect and self-neglect. If you see something, say something.

Although professionals are mandated by law to report mistreatment of elders, DHS encourages anyone concerned about the safety and well-being of any at-risk adult in Weld County to report to law enforcement by calling 9-1-1 or file a report with the Adult Protection Hotline by calling (970) 346-7676.

For more information about elder care in Weld County, click on the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) link on the Department of Human Services web page.