Weld County Stands Up Against Elder Abuse

Weld County Board of Commissioners. Photo courtesy of Weld County.

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The Weld County Board of Commissioners proclaimed June 15, as Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The proclamation serves as a reminder we must raise awareness about abuse, neglect, and exploitation of elders, not just on June 15, but every day.

“The mistreatment of elders in our community diminishes all of us. Just as we have confronted and addressed the social issues of child abuse and domestic violence, we are also working diligently to address the issues of elder abuse,” explained Jamie Ulrich, Director of the Department of Human Services. “Weld County Adult Protective Services (APS) is committed to creating a stronger Weld County by mitigating risk and preventing elder abuse while preserving the dignity of older adults.”

Elder abuse can be defined as “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person.” Social, economic, and psychological factors all play a role in elder abuse. A person may be at risk for elder abuse due to social isolation, lack of access to resources and support, or physical and emotional dependence.

Weld County APS staff and community partners, from the Greeley Police Department Birchwood Apartments, Colorado Health Care Alliance, and Northern Colorado Medical Center, were in attendance and received thanks from the board for their commitment to standing up against elder abuse.

“We work collaboratively with all of these individuals — these great people who serve this community and we are glad that we have them as ‘back up’ so to speak. We couldn’t do what we do in investigations without them,” said Dennis Lobato, Sergeant with the Greeley Police Department.

Each year, research indicates one in 10 older adults suffer abuse, while only one in 14 cases are ever reported to authorities. Experts believe elder abuse is significantly under-reported because so many communities lack adequate adult protective resources needed.

In Weld County, residents can utilize APS for reporting, education, and prevention of elder abuse. APS provides education on the mistreatment and self-neglect of at-risk adults to the community at no cost. To schedule a training or learn more about education services, contact Dawn Simmons at (970) 400-6122 or email dsimmons@weldgov.com.

APS encourages anyone concerned about the safety and well-being of any at-risk adult residing in Weld County to report it to local law enforcement or the Weld County Adult Protection Hotline at (970) 400-6700.

For more information about APS, please visit weldgov.com/Government/Departments/Human-Services/Area-Agency-on-Aging-AAA/Adult-Protection.