Weld County commits to fight against elder abuse

Published on June 02, 2021

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The Weld County Board of Commissioners, alongside the United Nations and multiple prevention organizations around the world, have proclaimed June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for our communities to raise awareness about abuse, neglect, and exploitation of elders, and reaffirm our country’s commitment to the principle of justice for all.

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.

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 the Department of Human Services Adult Protection Services (APS) for reporting, education and prevention of elder abuse.

“It’s up to us as a community to stand up against elder abuse and support our older Americans so that they can live safely and with dignity here in Weld County,” explained Jamie Ulrich, Director of the Department of Human Services. “This is a very significant issue, and it is especially important to increase awareness and learn how to report abuse.”

At Wednesday’s board meeting, the entire Weld County APS staff was in attendance and received thanks from the Board. Weld County APS was recently recognized by the state for their commitment to serving older adults who suffer from abuse by meeting 100% of their monthly contact requirements on a consistent basis.

“This is a big job, and we have some of the hardest working individuals in our APS department who put their hearts on their sleeves each day to help our most vulnerable,” said Commissioner Perry Buck, Coordinator for the Department of Human Services.

Education and awareness are crucial to the 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 Jill Colavolpe at (970) 400-6109.

Weld County 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) 346-7676.

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

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