Elder Care - Photo courtesy of Raychan on Unsplash

Finding ways to prevent abuse of seniors and those with physical limitations will be the focus of a conference Wednesday in downtown Riverside.

The Riverside County Department of Public Social Services will hold its annual “Elder & Dependent Adult Abuse Symposium” at the Convention Center on Fifth Street, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., hosting talks and breakout sessions involving elected officials, representatives from nonprofits, law enforcement agents, medical professionals, social workers and others.

Among those slated to speak are county Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff Hewitt, Sheriff Chad Bianco and DPSS Director Sayori Baldwin.

“At least one in 10 Americans aged 60 or older will experience abuse during their lifetime, and the risk increases with age and conditions such as dementia,” according to a DPSS statement. “With one in five of the county’s 2.5 million residents already aged 60 or older, advocates are working together to create safe communities in one of California’s fastest-graying counties.”

There will be workshops specifically geared to how to detect and stop abuse.

In 2017, DPSS 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.

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

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 California Department of Adult Protective Services: 833-401-0832.

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