El Paso County, CO, June 8, 2017 – El Paso County Commissioners at their regular meeting Thursday recognized June as World Elder Abuse Prevention Month with a Proclamation.
“The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners, the Department of Human Services, and our community partners recognize that senior citizens are valued members of our society,” said Commissioner Peggy Littleton as she read the Proclamation into the record. “Abuse, neglect and exploitation is a tragedy inflicted on vulnerable senior citizens and is an ever-increasing problem that crosses all socio-economic boundaries.”
June has been designated as World Elder Abuse Prevention Month, to shine a light on the problems of physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders. In 2016, there were 2,540 reports to El Paso County Adult Protective Services and 4,047 call screens to Colorado Springs Police Department.
“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,” Littleton said.
El Paso County Department of Human Services Executive Director Julie Krow praised the Adult Services team, and added that El Paso County is known at the state level for the quality of work and other accomplishments for protecting seniors and at-risk adults.
“Since July 2014 when mandatory reporting for elder abuse went into effect, There has been about a 60 percent increase in the number of clients served,” she said.
The numbers don't mean that abuse is happening more often in the region compared to other counties, it means there is greater awareness, said Andrew Bunn, DHS Adult & Family Services Manager. “We’re receiving more reports, and we’re doing more outreach,” he said. “The increase in numbers shows we’re reaching vulnerable population.”
Self-neglect, caretaker neglect and exploitation are the types of cases DHS deals with most often, followed by physical abuse.
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 elders who may be abused, neglected or exploited, including setting up an emergency elder shelter program.
El Paso County DHS has partnered with PPEAC members to host an event to teach seniors and their caregivers on avoiding financial abuse and exploitation. The event for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Colorado Springs Senior Center, 1514 N. Hancock Ave. 80903. Presentations include segments from law enforcement, financial professionals, Silver Key and the Department of Human Services.
“Thanks go to County staff and the nonprofits they work with,” said Commissioner Stan VanderWerf. “I appreciate all the work you are doing.”
Contact: Kristina Iodice
DHS Public Information Officer
Phone: 444-5533 Cell: 235-8478