Finding ways to prevent elder abuse and identify those responsible will be the focus of a conference on Wednesday in downtown Riverside.
The Riverside County Department of Public Social Services will hold its fifth annual Elder & Dependent Adult Abuse Symposium at the Convention Center, hosting talks and breakout sessions involving about 450 attendees, including elected officials, representatives from nonprofits, law enforcement agents, medical professionals, social workers and personnel from financial institutions.
The keynote speaker will be Dr. Wael Hamade, a geriatric specialist for the Riverside University Health System.
“As many as one in 10 older adults are abused or neglected each year, and only one in 14 cases comes to the attention of authorities,” said Ryan Uhlenkott, deputy director of DPSS’ Adult Services Division. “Older adults are vital to our community. Their abuse diminishes us all.”
In 2017, the agency initiated its “Know Abuse, Report Abuse” campaign to awaken more residents to the existence of abusive circumstances and promote reporting suspected cases of neglect or other mistreatment to law enforcement.
Reports of abuse, including mental, sexual, physical and financial, have increased countywide over the last four years, according to DPSS. Officials said the agency receives more than 20,000 calls regarding abuse and neglect annually.
In California, custodial neglect and self-neglect are both treated as forms of abuse.
The following examples have been cited as red flags for anyone suspicious that abuse is occurring:
— an elder or dependent adult going without food, water and other basic amenities;
— dirty clothing and lack of personal hygiene;
— bruises, black eyes, broken bones;
— bloody, ripped or stained clothing and sheets;
— acts of harassment, intimidation or humiliation; and
— caregiver’s apparent misuse of senior’s or disabled adult’s funds.
The county operates a 24-hour hotline to take reports of elder or dependent adult abuse: 800-491-7123.
Instances involving potential abuse at a residential care facility or assisted living facility should be referred to the state, via its CRISIS line: 800-231-4024, or to the Long Term Care Ombudsman’s office: 877-430-4433.
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