Riverside County officials remind residents to report elder abuse

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. — Residents of Riverside County who observe or suspect elder abuse, neglect or exploitation should report it immediately, officials said Monday.

“We receive thousands of calls to our hotline every month, but we know that only one in 10 cases of elder abuse comes to our attention,” Assistant Director of Adult Services Ryan Uhlenkott told the Department of public social services. “By speaking up, we can all raise awareness and end elder abuse right here in our own county.”

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and county social service officials are taking the opportunity to remind residents of the county’s ongoing campaign to detect and stop all types of human abuse. elderly.

The county has been considered the “fourth grayest in California”, with one in five residents aged 60 and over. This population is expected to double over the next few decades.

“We are committed to providing accessible services to ensure our aging residents have a good quality of life in communities that meet their needs,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff Hewitt. “These challenges impact many of us, and we must tackle them together.”

According to the DPSS, one in 10 Americans over the age of 60 is likely to experience abuse, with the risks increasing with age, and cases of dementia and other debilitating health factors increasing.

“Our seniors deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Maile Haynes, deputy director of the Riverside County Office of Aging.

The county is working with state agencies to create a “blueprint for aging,” which would involve a greater degree of interagency cooperation to provide resources to protect and assist older adults, especially those who are dependent.

According to the DPSS, more than 35,000 reports of suspected elder abuse and neglect were reported countywide last year. How many resulted in investigations and criminal charges were not disclosed.

In 2017, DPSS launched its “Know the Abuse, Report the Abuse” campaign to increase awareness among residents of the existence of abusive circumstances and to promote the reporting of suspected cases of neglect or other harm to law enforcement.

In California, both prison neglect and self-neglect are treated as forms of abuse, officials said.

The following examples have been cited as red flags for anyone suspecting abuse:
— a senior or dependent adult deprived of food, water and other basic amenities;
— dirty clothes and lack of personal hygiene;
— bruises, black eyes, broken bones;
— bloody, torn or stained clothing and bedding;
— acts of harassment, intimidation or humiliation; and
— Apparent misuse by the caregiver of the funds of the elder or disabled adult.

The county operates a 24-hour hotline to receive reports of elder abuse or dependent adults: 800-491-7123.

Cases involving potential abuse in a residential care facility or assisted living facility should be referred to the California Department of Adult Protective Services: 833-401-0832.

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