Seniors need protection throughout the year, and June offers a special opportunity to share the message of abuse and neglect prevention.
El Paso County Department of Human Services, Silver Key and others in the Pikes Peak Elder Abuse Coalition (PPEAC) work together to help protect a vulnerable segment of the population.
June 15th has been designated as World Elder Abuse Prevention Day to shine a light on the problems of physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders. In 2020, there were 3,531 reports to El Paso County Adult Protective Services.
The PPEAC is a collaboration among agencies, nonprofits, and businesses. Members are proactive in finding ways to assist elders who may be abused, neglected, or exploited, including establishing an emergency elder shelter program among local care providers.
Abuse, neglect, and exploitation inflicted on vulnerable senior citizens is an ever-increasing problem that crosses all socio-economic boundaries. That was especially true during the pandemic, when many seniors became even more isolated. Even as life returns to normal, it is still important to make sure seniors are not experiencing abuse or neglect.
There are signs of abuse or neglect someone may notice when visiting an older person at home or in a care facility:
- Trouble sleeping
- Appears depressed or confused
- Loses weight for no reason
- Acts agitated or violent
- Stops taking part in activities he or she enjoys
- Has unexplained bruises, burns, or scars
- Looks messy, with unwashed hair or dirty clothes
- Develops bed sores or other preventable conditions
If someone see signs of abuse or neglect, try speaking with the person to find out what is going on. Concerns of abuse and neglect should be reported to local law enforcement. Reports can also be made to El Paso County DHS at 719-444-5755 during normal business hours. Reporting to Law Enforcement or APS is encouraged, even if you are uncertain if abuse or neglect is taking place. Professionals will review and assess the information, and respond as necessary.
The Department of Human Services Adult protection and services cannot operate alone. It takes partners, and many organizations, nonprofits and other entities in the region offer services and assistance to the aging community.
In past years, PPEAC has hosted workshops to teach seniors and their caregivers about recognizing abuse and mistreatment, and preventative measures. Ongoing heath concerns and guidance means in-person sessions aren’t planned, but online resources and opportunities are available.
Silver Key Senior Services provides adults age 60 and over in the Colorado Springs area with a wide variety of services such as Silver Key Connections Café, Home Delivered Meals including Meals on Wheels, Reserve & Ride transportation services, Active Living events and programs, and vital Silver Key Senior Assistance services including case management and government food program distribution.
The PPACG Area Agency on Aging works to help older adults by providing services and supports that empower them to remain as independent as possible in their homes and communities. PPACG Area Agency on Aging provides information on senior resources, advice and help for caregivers, advocacy assistance through the ombudsman program on senior living concerns, provides counseling and education on Medicare and more.
Colorado Coalition for Elder Rights and Abuse Prevention (CCERAP) provides training opportunities and in-depth information, addressing the most challenging issues facing the elderly. Many resources are available online.